Our Project Story

Somerset House East Wing.

King's College London | BDP

Higher Education
Justin Spencer, Partner at Hoare Lea

Lead Partner:
Justin Spencer

Expanding what’s possible for listed spaces.

The Somerset House East Wing project is a truly creative adaptation of one of the UK’s most significant historic buildings. Designed by Sir William Chambers and completed in 1801, the building is a key part of King’s College London’s Strand Campus. It’s recent refurbishment is a testament to what is possible in terms of energy and sustainable design in a historic building, and our Sustainability team was at the heart of it.Somerset House

Seeing past constraints.

A key element of the brief was to achieve a high-quality environment through the best optimisation of the space and its conditions, and ultimately promote productivity for users. Added to this was the target of BREEAM Excellent: ambitious for any build, but even more so for a Grade I listed building. In response to this challenge, we took a holistic view, and saw beyond the constraints to propose truly innovative solutions that could be implemented without compromising the listed building.

Its characteristics meant we had to immediately think outside of the ‘typical’ energy improvement measures and influence the space planning accordingly. Success lay in the way we used the building’s unique architecture to our advantage, utilising the generous floor-to-ceiling heights on some floors, thick external walls, and sensible proportions of glazing to help achieve the low-energy-consumption aspirations.

Excellence at every opportunity.

Throughout the project – from design development to implementation – the comfort and usability of the spaces for its users remained our main priority. The ambitious BREEAM and EPC ratings were achieved by ensuring close cooperation between all involved: the architect, services and sustainability consultant, heritage specialist, client, and future occupier. Ultimately, by refusing to compromise its exceptional architecture, design excellence, or quality of the spaces, the East Wing is an exemplar of sustainable design in challenging historic building.

Key Figures
Grade I Listed building
BREEAM Excellent