Spa Road, Southwark

Award winning conversion and extension of Grade II listed town hall building creates 41 high-specification apartments

The conversion and extension of Southwark’s former municipal offices won the London Evening Standard New Homes Award for Best Conversion 2014.

Forty one new homes were provided in the Grade II Listed former town hall. Purpose-built between 1928-1930 and designed by architect Henry Tansley, the building emulates the early 19th Century Greek Revival style. The nine-window elevation consists of two storeys sitting upon a basement plinth, which is arranged as a tripartite with two symmetrical elements flanking a central portico.

The conversion of the existing building places loft style apartments into the original footprint. The new construction is treated as a lining, with elements which are independent of the historic fabric inserted. The lofts are accessed through the original raised front entrance, which leads visitors to a vertical circulation route via an Imperial-style grand staircase. Four of the ground floor residences are able to be adapted to accessible units.

New second floor penthouses are set back from the main façade. The penthouses have been constructed from sensitive, high quality, lightweight materials, so as to have a minimal visual impact on the existing building fabric. Their simple composition, with frames spanning two window bays of the existing building, gives significance to the original structure. A coherent family of materials was used for both the new extension works and reparations to the existing building. Preserving the asset while bringing new life and much needed residences to the area formed the key driver for the project.

In addition to the Bermondsey Square gardens opposite, outdoor amenity space has been provided where possible. Both lower ground and second floor units benefit from direct access to private open space. While sensitive landscaping of the internal lightwell enlivens views from habitable rooms without compromising privacy. The selected planting adds texture and movement to the space while improving the biodiversity of a previously entirely hard landscape.

Project Data

Construction: 2014