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East Ham Old Fire Station

Sensitive conversion of a historic building

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Bauher*innen: Populo Living
Status: Completed
Standort: East Ham
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Nutzung: Commercial, Housing, Leisure, Mixed-use, Re-use

Kollaboration

Structural engineer Momentum structural engineers
MEP consultant SGA Consulting
MEP sub consultant Fowler Martin
Environmental consultant Eight Associates
Cost consultant Airey Miller
Acoustic engineer KP Acoustics
Air quality consultant REC
Traffic consultant TTP Consulting
Heritage consultant Heritage Collective
Project management Airey Miller
Employer's agent Airey Miller

Sensitive conversion of a historic building in the heart of East Ham’s civic quarter into new affordable homes and commercial space with London Borough of Newham’s innovative property company, Populo.

Kollaboration

Structural engineer Momentum structural engineers
MEP consultant SGA Consulting
MEP sub consultant Fowler Martin
Environmental consultant Eight Associates
Cost consultant Airey Miller
Acoustic engineer KP Acoustics
Air quality consultant REC
Traffic consultant TTP Consulting
Heritage consultant Heritage Collective
Project management Airey Miller
Employer's agent Airey Miller
East Ham Old Fire Station
Restored stonework and brick facade
East Ham Old Fire Station
Reinstated timber doors in keeping with the original engine room doors now lead to the commercial unit
East Ham Old Fire Station
The old engine room has been stripped of unoriginal additions, becoming a core space with character ready for commercial use
Historic fire station elevations
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Natural lighting
2/5
Celebrating the structure
3/5
Old safe
4/5
Brick reveals preserved and full of character
5/5
Large versatile space ready for commercial uses
1/5
Natural lighting
2/5
Celebrating the structure
3/5
Old safe
4/5
Brick reveals preserved and full of character
5/5
Large versatile space ready for commercial uses
01 Context

The most sustainable building is nearly always the one that is already built.

The most sustainable building is nearly always the one that is already built, so it was with pleasure and interest that we converted a Grade II-Listed former fire station in East Ham’s civic quarter into affordable apartments and ground floor commercial space. The building closed in the 1960s and was converted into Council offices; this had a detrimental impact on the historic fabric, with many original features stripped out and detracting elements such as dropped ceiling tiles added. Our aim throughout was to remove unoriginal additions and restore the historic character whilst maximising living and commercial space.

East Ham Old Fire Station
The building used to house Council Offices and has stood empty for several years, falling into a state of disrepair
East Ham Old Fire Station
Original double doors leading to the fire engine had been replaced with unattractive shutters and PVC doors
02 Council-owned, company run

The fire station is located at the top of a diverse, bustling high street, located within an attractive conservation area.

The area is characterised by greenery and a cluster of other similar styled red-brick civic buildings built at the turn of the 20th century. The commercial unit at the ground floor of the building connects to the vibrancy of the high street, reinforcing the sense of place.

East Ham Old Fire Station is one of a number of projects that we have produced with Populo Living (formerly Red Door Ventures), a company wholly-owned by Newham Council. The apartments are London Affordable Rent homes so respond to Populo’s purpose of designing and building more and better homes for Newham. Populo will also act as the property managers, providing a responsive and caring service to residents. dRMM worked closely with Populo to ensure that the design is efficient, local community focused and robust, delivering long-term sustainability.

Insight: easthamoldfirestation

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The existing building marks a key corner of the Edwardian civic centre of East Ham
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The west elevation shows the historic frontage of the Old Fire Station with it's reinstated doors
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Section through the Old Fire Station showing the positioning of the commercial and residential units
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Ground floor plan showing the relationship to the outside areas and nearby fireman's cottages
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The new feature doors reactivate and re-connect the former engine room with the street
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The existing building marks a key corner of the Edwardian civic centre of East Ham
2/5
The west elevation shows the historic frontage of the Old Fire Station with it's reinstated doors
3/5
Section through the Old Fire Station showing the positioning of the commercial and residential units
4/5
Ground floor plan showing the relationship to the outside areas and nearby fireman's cottages
5/5
The new feature doors reactivate and re-connect the former engine room with the street
Bright residential corridor with terracotta flooring made from existing quarry tiles which have been exposed and repaired
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Apartment entrance
2/4
Retained living room fireplaces
3/4
Terracotta floor detail
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Existing staircase, stripped out and restored
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Apartment entrance
2/4
Retained living room fireplaces
3/4
Terracotta floor detail
4/4
Existing staircase, stripped out and restored
03 Maximising space and light

All affordable rent apartments have dual aspect views and are laid out to maximise room sizes to accentuate the historic character of the building.

Apartment layouts are designed around the position of the heritage windows to set these off to their best advantage. The building’s main staircase has been refurbished and an additional new staircase has been introduced to improve the efficiency of the layout. The new staircase takes reference from the historic fabric, with its black steel winding steps and coloured rubber flooring echoing the colours of the historic quarry tiles found elsewhere in the building.

An existing yard located at the back of the building has been redesigned to provide a delightful landscaped entrance for residents to enjoy. It also provides an attractive outlook for the east facing apartments.

East Ham Old Fire Station
Typical residential floor plan
East Ham Old Fire Station
Private balconies have been added in place of the old fire escape stair, providing residents with generous outdoor space
04 Heritage significance

The 1908 building’s heritage significance is that it is an example of an early 20th century fire station. Characterful features include the bold red brick, limestone detailing and slate roof.

A tower with a splendid cupola provides a key feature to mark the building’s corner location. Four tall arched bays at street level facing towards the high street are what is left of the doors through which fire engines used to enter.

Arranged over the building’s two and a half floors, our design involved the removal of detracting unoriginal elements and structures, with the aim of retaining and restoring the majority of the original fabric. Behind the façade we optimised the internal layout while keeping the building’s original structural walls. This improves access and maximises the number of units while creating layouts that meet contemporary design standards and aspirations.

At ground level we neatly refurbished the former fire engine room to accommodate a new flexible commercial unit. This space not only adds to the vitality of this busy high street, but also provides an exciting and characterful space for a new café or restaurant. The original arched entrance bays are infilled with bespoke full height doors that connect the commercial unit with the bustling high street. These satisfyingly substantial glass and timber doors are sympathetic to the building’s historic fabric allowing natural light to flood the interior and provide an impressive entrance into the space.

The Fire Station is located just off the bustling High Street South in East Ham
Old Fire Station location
05 Long life, loose fit

Heritage buildings tend to be inherently environmentally sustainable. Repurposing them is a work of adaptive re-use.

The essence of renovation is “to make new again”.  We upgraded the interior to meet contemporary standards whilst making the most of the existing space and available sunlight.

We successfully extended the life of this historic building through a series of modernisations that allow it to meet contemporary standards for energy efficiency, and commercial and residential amenity, such as back-of-house, waste management and cycle storage areas. We undertook extensive work to repair the leaking roof which was causing internal damage. The performance of the building fabric has been improved through additions such as secondary glazing and upgrading existing floor and wall build ups to create comfortable places to live.

 

East Ham Old Fire Station
Apartments benefit from large refurbished sash windows and tall ceilings
East Ham Old Fire Station
Retained round window

Preise

2023
New London Architecture Award, Retrofit
Shortlisted
2023
AJ Architecture Award, Refurb Project
Shortlisted
2023
Dezeen Architecture Award
Longlisted
2023
RIBA London Award
Shortlisted
2023
ASBP Awards, Project of the Year
Shortlisted

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