London County Hall is a Grade-II* listed building, built between 1911 and 1939 to house the London County Council (LCC), later the Greater London Council (GLC). The Southern wings of the 6th and 7th floors have remained largely unoccupied since the departure of the GLC, due to a lack of vertical circulation (lift access).
‘Orchard Courtyard’ is a proposal to re-activate the vacant spaces at the Southern end of London County Hall, creating universal access to all floors through the insertion of a new vertical circulation core in the South East lightwell. The Orchard Courtyard development includes the construction of a new ground floor slab within the lightwell to create a new fully accessible, light filled ground floor lobby, a new glazed roof at high level, access to the floors above via a new glass lift tower and the creation of new amenity space for tenants at roof level, with views to the Thames and Palace of Westminster.
Inspired by the fabric of this beautiful listed building, the proposed design is characterised by detailing which has been drawn from existing features and materials – from the bronze coloured window frames and linings, to the white glazed bricks that line the existing light wells. Between the newly planted Honey Locust Trees, slender white steel columns are encased in curved concrete collars at the base which appear to grow from the floor, supporting the new glazed roof above – creating a forest-like appearance, and bringing new life to the space. Light steel frames support the roof above touching the building lightly and ensuring minimal impact of the structure on the existing building facades. The pattern of a new ornate terrazzo floor is inspired from the unique circular windows that feature in the lightwells of the building, and resonates with the existing ornate floors that feature in many of the entrance halls to London County Hall.
The Orchard Courtyard brings new life and vibrancy to a vacant area of County Hall and is the latest in a series of interventions which will transform the vertical circulation through building, providing access to vacant spaces and ensuring active occupation of the building for years to come.