Sector: Conservation, Interiors, Office
Project value: £3.5million
Project stage: Complete
Frederick Gibberd Partnership was commissioned for the repair and refurbishment of 55 Whitehall, a Grade II listed building that occupies a prominent position within the borough of Westminster.
Since its construction in 1910, 55 Whitehall had undergone a sequence of alterations to enable it to fill a role in providing accommodation for the Crown and Government. However, an inadequate means of accessibility, reception, and fire compartmentalisation, meant that the building was eventually vacated in 2002. Subsequently, it lay unoccupied for a number of years until Frederick Gibberd Partnership was appointed as the conservation architect for a design that would return the building to use whilst retaining its historical character.
Given its architectural significance and location within a World Heritage Site, the architects were keen to retain and restore original elements of the property’s Edwardian baroque architecture. Firstly, the architects worked closely with the Home Office to retain the elegant central staircase hall that provides a dramatic statement through the height of the building. Secondly, repairs to the existing historic fabric were carried out so as to follow the original design in both composition and appearance. This included removing unsympathetic modern alterations that had been added over the years to this piece of historic architecture and restore its principal rooms back to their original proportions. Original mosaic and terrazzo floors were revealed and repolished and an interior design based on the Edwardian colour palette found on site was established. Any new interventions needed were carefully designed by Frederick Gibberd Partnership to minimise intrusion upon the existing fabric and match the original profile, style and materiality of the building. Lastly, the entrance was adapted to allow for an access lift, reception point and security circle locks,
The building has achieved the highest practical BREEAM rating for an existing building. Natural ventilation is supplemented by the original vent shafts which draws air from room level.
Overall, 55 Whitehall is a primary example of London conservation architecture created by Frederick Gibberd Partnership that is sympathetic to its surrounding area and historic character.