Hall Black Douglas Architects wokred alongside Historic Consultant Alastair Coey Architects to restore a Listed–B1 former primary school dating from 1932 as a ‘community hub’. The building had suffered greatly from vandalism and exposure to the elements, having lain derelict for 25 years; its physical condition posed significant technical and logistical challenges.
The approach taken, was to balance the need to retain as much as possible of the original fabric and the character and atmosphere of the existing building whilst enabling it to work, adapt to new uses and “sing” through well designed intervention. Great attention to detail has been paid throughout the building where on the front elevation the bullet’s embedded themselves in the exterior fabric, the holes remain as reminders of the troubled times of the building’s past.
St Comgalls Community Hub now has a range of comfortable high–end offices, seminar and meeting rooms, a café, catering–standard kitchen, washrooms and toilets, etc. A welcoming reception area has been created with management suite and the original assembly hall has been restored to its former glory and repurposed as a flexible function room. A central ‘open air’ courtyard has been glazed over to create a central event space.
As an important historic building, which represents urban and social continuity in an area that has been through so much, the management of public impact was critical. This was facilitated through engagement with end users, newsletter mail drops during the progress of the works to keep local residents up to date; along with some organised tours of the building both during and after completion of the works for interested groups and individuals. These tours were well attended and greatly appreciated by the Falls Community Trust and the local community, allowing a seamless and successful transition to completed project.