The Light, Friends House

Historic Building/Conversion

A key challenge on this project was constructing the works in an active building. Sections were designed to be installed in discreet packages so that the fee earning facilities were not compromised.

This listed building, with it’s unique use, was in desperate need of refurbishment. The large meeting house in the centre of the building is the venue for the annual gathering of Quakers, and provides 1200 seats. Our brief was to provide a refurbished space to suit a variety of uses, including the annual gathering. A flexible sustainable solution was required.

Walsh provided designs that could be constructed in phases to suit the clients ongoing use of the building. We used prefabrication and repetition of connection details and yet provided tolerance for the contractor working with the existing structure’s constraints.

The designs for the large meeting house were finessed to create a very efficient spacial fit for the new seating arrangements to give a flexibility to the use of the large meeting hall.

The new roof frames were designed to retain as much of the existing fabric as was practicable and to mimic the existing load-paths, even though existing principle truss lines were no longer available to us due to the creation of the new funnel shaped ceiling.

The finished project is an impressive showcase of how precision engineering design can be achieved in active sites, within the challenging environment of a listed building.

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Key Facts

  • Client: The Quakers
  • Location: Euston Road, London
  • Year: 2015
  • Summary:
    Friends House is the home of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in the UK. It is Grade 2 listed and won the RIBA Bronze Medal in 1927.

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