Fairfield Halls

  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Mack Associates
  • © Hufton + Crow
  • © Mack Associates
  • © Nudge Photography
  • © Hufton + Crow
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Hufton + Crow
  • © Nudge Photography
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Hufton + Crow
  • © Hufton + Crow
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Mack Associates
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © MICA Architects

Application Type

Civic Trust Awards

Level of Award

Highly Commended

Region

Greater London

Local Authority Area

Croydon

Information about this scheme

Fairfield Halls has served Croydon as the principal cultural venue and community meeting place of the town for over 50 years. The heritage-lead approach to the refurbishment of The Fairfield Halls, respects the original design intent and removes later unsympathetic interventions such as a 1980s kitchen extension and 1990s roof extension. The refurbished building has had its civic character as a cultural landmark in Croydon reinstated and revived. The areas of remodelling and extension have been designed to be in keeping with the original architecture and respectful of the history of community and creativity in and around the site. The approach has retained the strengths of the original Halls design, while adding capacity for a wider range of performances and revenue generating opportunities for the operator, thus helping to ensure a sustainable future and creative re-use of the existing spaces. Refurbished facades are formed of Portland stone, granite and mosaic with large areas of single-glazed steel-framed windows. Precast concrete cladding to the high-level elevations had failed and was replaced using an innovative natural stone chip insulated render system to meet demanding requirements of integrity, acoustics and appearance. The later, heavy, curtain-walling glazed entrance doors were removed from the main entrance and the original, set-back door line was reinstated, using frameless doors and screens as contemporary equivalents of the original designs, to improve visibility and transparency to the entrance sequence. Modern ticketing arrangements allowed for the removal of the enclosed ticket office to expose the soffit of the existing foyer stair and adding to an increased feeling of spaciousness and transparency to the main entrance. The main foyer has been refurbished to reinstate the original designs including the saw-tooth ceiling profile, linear lighting diffusers, high-gloss columns, projecting public balconies and modern recreations of the original chandeliers designs to the triple height Sun Lounge space. New lift landings at upper foyer level are provided to improve accessibility, with finely crafted new brass and hardwood balustrades with glazed infill panels to match the original designs. A new glazed north extension with café and community studio provides active frontage to the previously blank College Green façade, while the re-built and extended Arnhem Gallery venue adds a new, top lit, multi-function performance and rehearsal space, clad in simple back-lit glazing at high level, to signpost the new venue. New glazed side entrance doors to the Arnhem and Ashcroft Foyers increase flexibility in use while respecting the original designs. A light-touch refurbishment of the Concert Hall safeguards the existing, highly regarded acoustics for choral and orchestral performances, while new acoustic banners, enclosed in bespoke timber housings to match the existing acoustic panels, provide improved acoustic performance for amplified performances. The original 1962 chandeliers were completely refurbished and re-lamped by a local lighting specialist. Offering a varied programme of inclusive free and ticketed events operated by the BH Live social enterprise, the Halls provide a vital amenity for the local community and have been described by Mayor Sadiq Khan as ‘a cathedral of culture’.

Credits

Applicant

MICA

Client

Brick by Brick for London Borough of Croydon

Main Contractor

Vinci

Project Manager

Gleeds

Access Consultant

David Bonnett Associates

Acoustic Consultant

Max Fordham

BREEAM

Max Fordham

Planning Consultant

Carter Jonas

Structural Engineer

AKS Ward

Services Engineer

Max Fordham

Theatre Consultant

Sound Space VIsion

Primary Use Class

Class D2g - Theatre