Restoration and refurbishment of a Grade II* listed Victorian fire station, transforming it into new gallery and exhibition space for the South London Gallery.

RIBA National Award 2019
RIBA London Award 2019

Eckersley O’Callaghan provided structural engineering services for the restoration of this Grade II* listed Victorian fire station, which was constructed in 1876 with masonry walls and timber floors. After undergoing a significant transformation, it has become an annex for the South London Gallery, home to a new mixed-use cultural centre that hosts exhibitions and events and features a local history archive.

The building has suffered major structural damage and we were challenged to retain as much of the existing fabric and timber structure as possible to express the history of the building. We carried out a comprehensive site investigation to gain a full understanding of the existing structure. This revealed rotten timber that had become brittle from water damage, hazardous dry rot and mould, and cracks and holes from movement and growth over time in the brick walls.

Our structural design strengthens the existing 150-year-old timber floors to enable their use as public gallery space. This followed thorough analysis to establish the floors’ capacities. Internal and external repair works have also been carried out to the masonry.

A prominent new feature of the gallery is our design of a new four-storey steel staircase. Existing floors have been removed and walls strengthened to allow for its installation.

We also engineered a new lift shaft into the centre of the building which required cutting through the existing timber roof structure – a geometrically complex form which had suffered significant rot and damage.

London, UK

South London Gallery

6a Architects

Johan Dehlin