Transformational extensions to the Grade II* listed hall and library buildings on the historic site at Lincoln’s Inn Fields.

RIBA London Regional 2021 - Winner
AJ Retrofit Awards 2021 - Listed Building £10m and over 
Building Awards 2020, Refurbishment Project of the Year – Shortlisted
New London Architecture Awards 2020, Conserving – Shortlisted

 

The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn Fields is the largest of the four Inns of courts, comprising several beautiful buildings. The most renowned building is the Grade II*-listed Great Hall and Library. The Great Hall was first completed in 1845 and the library was added in the 1870s by Architect, Philip Hardwick.

Our team provided Structural and Civil engineering services for a major refurbishment, including an extension to the existing library building, and the addition of two cavernous basement spaces, a total of 1,860m2, linked directly to the historic building via new subterranean apertures. This sprawling project presented challenges across a range of materials and scale, with safeguarding the historic building at the forefront of our minds. Numerous junctions with the existing buildings were carefully detailed to allow the two to freely articulate without visual disruption.

The Great Hall features a 185m2 one-of-a-kind fresco painted onto fresh plaster, and highly sensitive to building movement. Its value was such that the art consultant refused to provide any specification for its temporary protection during the construction works. Our weekly ‘Movement Monitoring report’ was studied with fervour and compared with our pre-construction predictions. The southern ceremonial staircase was carefully suspended on a series of micro-piled stilts for 12 months while the double basement auditorium and advocacy space was excavated below.

A freestanding glass link containing an ultra-slim bridge structure allowed the new library foundations to ‘bed in’ to the London clay without the large glass panels attracting any load. Each pane carefully chased into the historic brickwork to allow vertical freedom of movement while resisting lateral wind forces.

In re-connecting the new library space to the historic turret, the existing spiral stone stairs had to be rotated by 180 degrees. This operation had to be carried out with surgical precision and was achieved without the need to replace any of the original treads. The result is testament to the team maintaining such a keenly focused attention to detail throughout.

Location
London, UK

Client
The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn

Architect
MICA