Blog: Conservation & Regeneration SECBE Awards 2020 finalist - Exhibition London

29 May 2020

Conservation & Regeneration SECBE Awards 2020 finalist - Exhibition London (submitted by URW)

*** Winner! ***

Exhibition London has been transformed and now delivers 3000 sqm of usable event space spanning 2 floors, with double-height ceilings bringing the old and new together. The Dimco Buildings (East and West) are Victorian structures, first built in 1899, representing the earliest example of an electricity generating station built for the London Underground railway system. They were designed as the engine and boiler houses of the Wood Lane generating station and were Grade 2 listed in 1988, with tiled interior walls and red brick. When no longer required for the railway, the buildings were named for the Dimco Company which opened a machine shop there. The venue has provided a welcome addition to the local arts scene in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. It also represents another development in the wider £8 billion regeneration of White City.

Unibail Rodamco Westfield and venue specialists Broadwick Live converted Dimco East into public use for the first time. To enable the building to operate successfully with no disruption to the local residents, an acoustically and thermally sealed box was created without affecting the structure, fabric or external appearance of the building. As the Building is statutorily listed, any physical works to the structure internally or externally were approved by a listed building consent application, along with planning permission for the change in use of the building

Early engagement with the Client was essential to develop operational and aesthetic needs and aspirations whilst being sympathetic to the existing building fabric and structure. Close collaboration was undertaken with the Borough, planning and historic buildings department, and the local community from the inception to completion of the project.

Achievements:

  • Upgrading the thermal building performance without any change to the external appearance
  • Radically changing the use and acoustic performance of the building whilst retaining the existing building fabric and aesthetic
  • Designing and building a mezzanine floor which sits independently from the external walls
  • Relocating the existing gantry crane as it clashed with the Client fit-out (last time it had been moved was 12 years before)
  • Removing the existing roof and installing an acoustically rated replacement – all whilst retaining a live bus route around the site
  • Retaining the existing windows and upgrading internally to create acoustic barriers, without detriment to their appearance
  • Protecting the internal finishes whilst operating a live construction site
  • Delivering a fit-out and events operating systems with no fixing to the fabric of the building
  • Installing and operating heating and cooling systems whilst preventing any noise breakout by installing a system of acoustic louvres

Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, said: “Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield and Broadwick Venues have worked carefully to restore and repurpose this 120-year-old building to deliver this exciting new entertainment destination. Throughout, they have been committed to respecting its past and investing in its future, so fantastic, contemporary experiences can be offered against a stunning Victorian backdrop. It is another fantastic asset for the borough and we are delighted that the Hammersmith & Fulham Historic Buildings Group has awarded the Blue Plaque commemorating the building’s history.”


Highlights:

  • The successful completion of the project has created another new space at Westfield London. It is a forward-thinking concept in a Grade 2 listed building while retaining its historic architectural language, materials and legacy.
  • This historical building has been retained, protected and intermittently used throughout 2 major phases of construction of Westfield London Phases 1 and 2 on the site over the last 12 years with the aim of eventually being converted into its final format, a public space complementing the redeveloped environment which was delivered under budget and three months early to a delighted client.
  • Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s own Design and Construction team delivered the restoration enabling Broadwick Live to operate the venue moving forward to operate a new home to nightlife culture in London, in keeping with URW’s Placemaking Strategy in the White City Opportunity Area along with their track record of hosting major events and talent – having been the first company to create a dedicated public events space in the UK.


About the Conservation & Regeneration Award: 

The conservation or rehabilitation of old or historic buildings and sites is often an important part of neighbourhood revitalisation, providing physical and psychological focus for the community and creating jobs and investment opportunities. Construction work that involves the conservation and regeneration of historic buildings requires great care and specialist skills and techniques.

> Find out more about the other finalists here

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