Happy Christmas from DJA!

For our Christmas outing this year, DJA visited the Design Museum in Kensington. Exhibitions such as ‘Designer Maker User’ and ‘Reduce Reuse Rethink’ certainly provoked food for thought as we look to tackle new projects and develop our design approach for a changing world.

We enjoyed lunch at the Belvedere restaurant nearby in Holland Park, fittingly seated under a giant Hirstian butterfly mandala as we exchanged Secret Santa presents with a twist: pieces of our own artwork. It’s great to recognise the talents of DJA’s team members and the variety of the pieces (from photorealistic painting to ‘epic poetry’) was a real delight to behold. We will be making donations with our gift budget to support local charities working in the Southwark and Bankside areas.

As ever, thank you to our colleagues and friends for their hard work, support and enthusiasm over the last year.

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We are delighted that the Caledonian Park Clock Tower and the ‘Cally Clock Tower Centre’ have been named by the Civic Trust as a 2020 Regional Finalist.

The Civic Trust have announced that 115 projects have been selected from all national and international entries following the first stage assessment process. The Regional Finalists will now be reviewed by them and considered for a National / International Award or Commendation. Winners will be announced on 9th December 2019.

Here are some before and after photographs showing the towers restoration.

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It’s a promising year for DJA as we are excited to announce that our project to restore the Caledonian Clock Tower and build a new Heritage Centre has been shortlisted for Heritage Project of the Year in the AJ Architecture Awards 2019. Also making a shortlist for a second time is the Anning Rooms at the Natural History Museum, for Refurbishment of the Year. The standard from all contenders is very high and we are delighted to see and recognise the quality work being produced by UK practices. The full shortlists can be viewed here.

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We had a great time at the AJ Retrofit 2019 Awards Dinner - there were excellent speeches and delicious food with great projects shortlisted in every category. We are in full support of the AJ’s RetroFirst campaign to champion refurbishment and retrofit over demolition and new build where existing buildings can be suitably repurposed

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We are pleased to see the soft opening of Oxford House progressing well after their recent Devil in the Details exhibition - DJA joined other invited guests to view an exhibition and sale of photographs taken during the refurbishment works. The café looks fantastic with the addition of interpretation by Simon Leach Design. It is thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund that special buildings like this and their stories are revived.

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We are thrilled to be shortlisted as a finalist for the AJ Retrofit Awards for two projects: The Anning Rooms for the Natural History Museum in the Listed Building- under £5 million category, and for the Dreadnought Student Centre in the Higher and Further Education category, which we have recently refurbished for the University of Greenwich with contractor Willmott Dixon.

The Anning Rooms, Natural History Museum

A suite of rooms over two levels has been created out of former back of house spaces to provide a restaurant, lounge and events space and study. Central to the design is a 6m tall cabinet display of objects and specimens to showcase the diversity of the Natural History Museum’s collections with a new staircase wrapped around it.

For the members and patrons, the Anning Rooms provide a place of tranquility, retreat and delight within the bustle of the museum.

The Dreadnought Student Centre, University of Greenwich

The goal of the project was to retain the character of the Unesco World Heritage site of Maritime Greenwich while providing the heart of a modern university in the midst of the other Grade I listed buildings on the site.

We have created a new roof over the central courtyard to form a triple height atrium and inserted a two new mezzanine floors to provide state-of-the-art classrooms and social learning spaces. The historic basements have also been brought to life, housing a new student bar and gym. The building’s transformation has been very enthusiastically received by the client, students and agencies including Historic England.

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After extensive restoration work we are happy to announce that the Caledonian Clock Tower and new Heritage Centre are open to the public.

The Clock Tower at the centre of Caledonian Park was built in 1855 as the centrepiece of the Metropolitan Cattle Market, London’s primary livestock market at the time. The park itself also has a fascinating history as the former grounds of a 17th Century Estate, later becoming a tea house, pleasure garden and a demonstration ground for the Tolpuddle Martyrs.

Since the dissolution of the market in 1962, the Grade II* listed Clock Tower and historic railings surrounding the park had deteriorated and were on the Historic England At Risk Register. We were appointed as lead consultant for a project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to restore the structure and build a new community centre with activity room, cafe and WCs.

It was great to attend the official opening ceremony on the 8th June with the ribbon cutting by mayor of Islington, Councillor Rakhia Ismail. Many thanks to AECOM, Eng Design, Baker Mallet, Clarkson Alliance, Hotrod Creations, Eight Associates, BB7 and Lengard for their contributions to this project.

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DJA have collaborated with Cooper and Withycombe, A. E. Robb, Louisa Penn Interiors and Press & Starkey to refurbish the top floor at Syon House, Brentford. This historic house was built in the 1500s, with grand and eclectic interiors by Robert Adam added during the 1760s - the so-called ‘Adam style’ is said to have begun at Syon.

The team were commissioned to replan a wing of the top floor for the private and commercial use of Northumberland Estates. A key feature of the design was to bridge the levels between the lower rooms and upper storey while conserving the historic fabric and structure of the building. DJA produced numerous sketches, drawings and models throughout the design process to ensure that a new mid level stair provided a fitting entrance to the private apartments, retaining the historic character of the building.

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We are delighted to have recently completed the Dreadnought Student Centre for the University of Greenwich.

Originally built as the Infirmary for Greenwich Hospital in the 1760’s to designs by James Stuart, the building became the Dreadnought Seaman’s Hospital following the move of the Seaman’s Hospital Mission in 1870 from a series of ‘Dreadnought’ hospital ships moored in Greenwich. The hospital eventually moved as a unit to St Thomas’s in 1986 and the Dreadnought was abandoned.The university accquired a 125 year lease from the Greenwich Hospital in the late 1990’s and DJA refurbished the building as the main university roofing over the central courtyard at basement and ground floor, and fitting out the upper floors.

Following the library’s move to Stockwell Street we were pleased to have the opportunity to adapt this building again. This time, a lightweight steel structure has been inserted into the courtyard on which a new roof canopy and two mezzanine floors are supported. The ceiling under the canopy has been clad in linear Douglas fir panels, complementing the oak floor and mezzanine soffits, and punctured with large skylights to create a warm, yet light and expansive central atrium. Within this space, flexible furniture and bespoke joinery furnish publicly accessible seating areas, social learning spaces and servery for 300 covers.

The historic brickwork vaults in the basement have been cleaned and repaired to form an atmospheric backdrop to the new 500 person bar and function rooms, as well as a fully equipped gym and changing facilities. The upper floors of the building have been refurbished for use as teaching spaces, IT labs and offices, all integrated with advanced audiovisual systems, including a radio station and media suite.

The challenge has been to integrate the necessary services and new structure required while respecting the historic fabric of the building. We would like to thank our project team which included Fanshawe, Willmott Dixon, Andrew Reid and Partners and Alan Baxter Partnership for this successful collaboration.

The building was officially opened on 30th November by the University’s Chancellor, the Rt Hon. Baroness Scotland PC QC and central atrium facilities are available to be enjoyed by the public.

Dreadnought Building

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Team DJA celebrated Christmas this year with a visit to Syon House in Brentford, where we have recently finished a refurbishment of the first floor apartments and are continuing conservation works on the Great Conservatory, Pepperpot Gatehouse and Lion Gate entrance. This was followed by a fabulous lunch at The Anning Rooms, which we completed for the Natural History Museum earlier this year.

Highlights included the annual Secret Santa with a new twist: we exchanged pieces of our own artwork. This revealed hidden talents within our team and will be a strong contender to become a Christmas tradition. With our gift budget we will be making a donation to a local charity.

Our thanks go to Syon House and the NHM for hosting us, and of course to our wonderful colleagues at DJA for their hard work, dedication and enthusiasm this year.

The dome of the Great Conservatory at Syon House
Team DJA at The Anning Rooms with our Secret Santa gifts
Team DJA at Syon House