Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2
ABA has been involved throughout Somerset House over many years, providing heritage, structural and transport advice as part of the Trust’s strategic Framework.
Somerset House is a Grade I listed Palladian masterpiece of Sir Williams Chambers, built in the 1770s as government offices. Since the 1990s it has been transformed into a centre for culture and art under the Direction of the Somerset House Trust.
Our structural engineering work in the South Wing included the award-winning schme to create a new functions pace at first floor. Following both engineering and conservation input on the West Wing, the refurbished offices are now in full use by various businesses, while the ground floor accommodates a rotating schedule of exhibitions and fairs. In the North Wing we provided conservation advice for the Courtauld Institute of Art’s Courtauld Connects project, while in the East Wing we advised on conservation and transport for the conversion of the East Wing to education use for King’s College, London. This included new links with the existing building to the east. The New Wing, where we also provided advice, now has offices on the upper floors and restaurants on the ground floor.
Our historical research and assessments of significance were used to inform the design of each new phase of new works. Some of the proposals have been light-touch but others bolder, such as the insertion of a striking new staircase in the West Wing. Our input has also included pre-application discussions with the statutory planning authorities which were fundamental in gaining consent for the various schemes.