Iceni Projects is a multi-disciplinary practice providing specialist advice in the fields of design, heritage, planning, sustainable development and transportation. The heritage team provides:
Name of Project: Randall's
Location: Vine Street, Uxbridge
Client: Inland Homes
The project proposed the conversion and extension of Randall's, a Grade II listed department store of the late 1930s, designed by William Lionel Evans, a local architect. Also proposed were the demolition of less significant buildings to the rear, the conversion of a curtilage listed Fire Station building within the Site of 1908, and the development of further buildings within the Site, alongside new landscaping, parking and other facilities. The Site as a whole sits within the Old Uxbridge/Windsor Street Conservation Area, thus requiring a careful approach to the scheme's new build elements, which were proposed at up to 6 storeys.
Iceni Heritage led on the provision of Heritage advice, as well as on Townscape matters, undertaking detailed discussions with both the London Borough of Hillingdon and Historic England. A significant Heritage, Townscape and Visual Impact Assessment was produced to accompany the pre-application discussions, and to inform the architectural and urban design process that was being undertaken by John Pardey Architects and AR Urbanism. Having undertaken a full assessment of the significance of the heritage assets on the Site at the earliest stage, we identified that the significance of the principal building lay in its fine Art Deco Facade, the form of the rear loading bay, that remained much as originally designed, and in certain internal features, such as a retained vacuum tube system for moving money and receipts around the former Department Store.
Our research indicated that the interiors of the building were, however, less significant in detail, as they were intended to be a 'stage set' for the introduction of shop fittings; the Store also struggled, for much of its life to be viable, following the closure of a nearby railway station, and the fact that Vine Street, on which it stands, went from being a primary, to a secondary shopping street between Randall's construction, and the present day. Clearly, finding a viable use for the building was going to be challenging, and working with Inland Homes' market advisers, we provided strong evidence that some subdivision of the building was required to deliver the preservation of the building through the identification of its Optimum Viable Use. We were also of the view that the evidence indicated an intention to extend the building upwards, and the potential to deliver an additional storey to the listed building without harm to significance. Both subdivision and vertical extension were ultimately agreed.
Finally, we identified opportunities for heritage benefits to arise through the scheme, both to offset Council concerns, and to ensure that the scheme was of the highest quality; we helped to persuade Inland Homes of the 'kerb appeal' of the heritage aspects of the scheme. Ultimately, the scheme was designed to include a reinstatement of lost features, such as striped faience detailing to the front fac;ade; an Art Deco clock to the front fac;ade's tower; and doors and signage to the Old Fire Station.
Support for the scheme from Historic England both in principle and in detail was obtained at an early stage of the project, with further detailed discussions required to satisfy Council concerns. Using a strong and clearly researched understanding of the significance of the Site's buildings, and its contribution to the Conservation Area, we were able, ultimately, to reach agreement with the authority, ensuring that the Site could deliver a viable future for the Site, a high quality architectural scheme, and the predominant preservation, and in places strong enhancement, of the significance of the listed building and Conservation Area. Overall, a scheme of a high quality was delivered, through an informed and heritage-led approach, shaped by our involvement, and close working with both stakeholders and the rest of the design team.
Name of Project: Beehive Mill
Location: Ancoats, Greater Manchester
Client: Urban Splash and Prince's Trust
Works were proposed for the conversion and alteration of the existing Grade II* listed Mill building into offices, both for lease, and for use by the Prince's Trust. Additionally, alterations were sought to create a new lobbied entrance to the building, as well as cleaning, painting, and other associated works.
Iceni Heritage led on the provision of Heritage advice, undertaking detailed discussions with both Manchester City Council and Historic England. Working closely with the appointed architect, Maurice Shapero, we worked to negotiate positions in relation to the arrangement of the new dual entrances to the building (divided between the Prince's Trust and Urban Splash portions of the building), and a series of further detailed works, to ensure that the building's internal appearance, form, access arrangements, subdivisions and performance could be enhanced, whilst having regard to the significance of the building. Additionally, the removal of works undertaken in the conversion of the building to the legendary 'Sankey's' Nightclub also assisted in enhancing significance, as many of these had had a deleterious impact on fabric.
We were involved from an early stage in the project, undertaking a detailed assessment of its significance, and seeking to understand its history and development. The building is made up of aspects that date between 1824 and 1906, with some later additions. The most significant elements are those of 1824 (largely destroyed in a fire in 1841 and rebuilt, to a large extent, in 1843, but remaining in part, and a section of 'Fireproof Mill built in 1829; this section is a rare surviving example of this typology, with a structure made up interlocking cast-iron beams, supported by 2 cast-iron columns on each level, which form a grid to support large stone flags. Later parts of the Mill, while significant architecturally, and in terms of their age, are less innovative, and reflect a more intensive period of mill construction. Development and significance plans were produced of the building to help inform works, and ensure preservation of the building's significance.
In particular, a key focus of the works was on the provision of a new entrance, which focused on an area of the Mill which, at ground floor level, included two carriage entrances of clearly very different dates, one of which sat within the 1829 Fireproof Warehouse. Iceni Heritage undertook extensive and detailed archival research in relation to this part of the building, to understand the age and significance of the various walls, openings and other physical features in this area. This research proved key in agreeing a position with stakeholders in relation to the extent of works that could be undertaken in creating a new lobby in this vicinity. New openings were agreed to be acceptable, and modern interventions introduced to create a contemporary space in keeping with the building's aesthetic. The scheme is now consented, and the works underway to ensure a viable and vibrant future for the building.
Weblink (Images): http://www.mauriceshapero.com/beehive-mill.html
Name of Projects: Odeon Cinema, 135-149 Shaftesbury Avenue
Location: Shaftesbury Avenue, London Borough of Camden
Client: Capital Start Ltd
It was proposed to convert the existing Grade II listed Odeon Cinema to a mixed-use cultural venue, including a hotel and cinema, with associated spa, restaurant, rooftop bar and other facilities. The proposal sought the internal demolition of the existing fabric within the 'box' created by the facades, and its development both internally, and at up to 2 and a half storeys above the parapet.
Iceni Heritage led on the provision of Heritage advice, as well as on Townscape matters, undertaking detailed discussions with both the London Borough of Camden and Historic England. While facade retention and similarly significant works to listed buildings would not usually be something that we would, as a firm, countenance, it became clear that in this case, such an approach could be taken forward. We undertook extensive research into the building's history, development and significance, visiting the Site's front and back of house spaces, reviewing historic plans, and overlaying historic and existing plans. We were able to identify that the original interiors of the building, designed by TP Bennett, and opened in 1931, had been entirely removed, during significant alterations to the building to convert it to a multi-screen cinema in 1970, and again in 2001. We were able to conclude that the building's significance lay to a great extent in its exterior, which includes a highly significant frieze by the sculptor Gilbert Bayes, and also in the perception of the 'box' form of the building, both in terms of its facades and vertical form, as well as in its clear historic significance, as a Site associated with West End Theatreland, and to Brian Epstein, The Beatles, and others, in its later life as a music venue.
We have been working through the process of demonstrating to stakeholders that the only means that the future of the building, and its historic significance and 'spirit of place' can be sustained, is through significant physical works to the building's interior, and a sensitive vertical extension to provide hotel rooms. This approach 'frees up' the lower levels of the building, allowing for an open, active and interpretative lobby space, the reintroduction of activity at ground floor level, and the retention of an entertainment use on Site, through a cinema (a use protected within Camden).
Iceni Heritage have worked closely with all stakeholders to try and find the best solution for the building, informing the design process, advising on the extent of demolition that could be pursued, and achieving agreement with Historic England that the approach proposed, at the current scale, is acceptable overall.
Name: Laurie Handcock
Job title: Director, Heritage Iceni Proiects
Tel: 020 3725 3853
07795 031 741
Historic Building conservation YES
Conservation planning YES
Architectural design and new build in historic areas
Historical research YES
Historic area assessments YES
Project Management YES
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