Text description provided by the architects. De Metz Forbes Knight Architects (dMFK) have completed the transformation and renovation of the Salters’ Hall in the City of London. The brutalist Grade II listed landmark, the last building to be designed by Sir Basil Spence, has been extensively refurbished and extended, and a new entrance pavilion installed. dMFK won the project in competition and were appointed by the Worshipful Company of Salters in 2006 to explore ways to improve its income producing potential in office areas, to better it’s poor sustainability credentials, and to increase the public visibility of the building, retaining the livery hall functions.
The transformation has resulted in a 40% increase in lettable floor space and services being completely replaced, making ceremonial spaces more comfortable and commercially attractive for events. The development has attracted a single tenant to lease the additional office space created.
The installation of a new entrance pavilion establishes a strong sense of arrival, which was missing from the original design. Full height glazing and glass roof between the new and original concrete structures open up new views of the underside of the statement cantilevered ceremonial staircase on the east side of the building.
dMFK’s designs, whilst sympathetic to the original 1970s aesthetic, feature a range of innovative materials and installations to enhance the various spaces in the building. Sculptural references to salt feature throughout, from the bush hammered white concrete exterior and salt coloured Tivoli Travertine Classico floor tiles, to a hanging light structure with salt shaped bulbs, which drops through and illuminates the ceremonial staircase.
The building has achieved an improved energy rating from grade D to B, a BREEAM excellent rating, virtually unique for a modern listed building, and incorporates district heating and cooling from the Citigen system. Landscaping improvements, including the updating of Salters’ garden, realise the aspirations of Make’s London Wall Place Masterplan, improving the public realm in this area and enhancing public access to the historical assets around the site, including fragments of the old London Wall.
Ben Knight, Director of dMFK said: “It was a privilege to work with The Salters’ Company to refurbish this fantastic piece of London’s brutalist architecture. As a practice we enjoy unpicking the most complex and interesting buildings and sites. On this project we replaced the uninspiring, hidden entrance, with an extended and welcoming entrance pavilion on the site of an unattractive and redundant garage. This design also allows for greater access and appreciation of the heritage assets around the site, most notably the fragments of the old London Wall and St Alphage remains.”