Hackney Town Hall \

A new lease of life for Hackney’s civic estate

In December 2007, planning and listed building consent was granted for the refurbishment of Hackney Town Hall & Assembly Halls, a Grade II listed neo-classical building.

The Challenge

Since 2007 we have been working with Hackney Council, English Heritage and the Hackney Conservation Department to refurbish the Town Hall, respecting its future functions, as well as its heritage value.

The real challenge is to deliver the project whilst the existing users remain in occupation.

“Hawkins\Brown is providing an excellent service, on architectural services, design, designing to budgets, achieving programmes and efficiently accommodating client changes.”

Richard Male, Facilities Advisor

The Big Idea

The Town Hall is a Grade II Listed neo-classical building, built in 1937 and designed by Lanchester and Lodge. The portland stone facade has been cleaned and the original crittal windows have been upgraded with ultra slim double glazing. The art deco style interior is carefully being restored, retaining the original features whilst upgrading the rooms to meet current standards and regulations.

The Small Detail

In 2012 we completed the restoration of the Assembly Halls, lobby and bar. Located in the West Wing, the self-contained facility can be let out for functions. Original features have been carefully restored and new installations seek to enhance the Interior character whilst bringing the facility in line with current regulations.

The refurbishment of the panelled Committee Rooms, staff offices and support facilities were completed in 2013, and set the standard for future areas such as the original Council Chamber. A rolling programme of improvements includes upgrading services, and careful integration of modern AV systems.

The unused central lightwells have been transformed into light and airy atria, and with the addition of bespoke furniture will make great event spaces.

Apart from the usual tin mugs, bottles and jars, the excavation of the atria uncovered the remains of what is believed to be a WWI Mauser Service rifle, several costume jewellery rings and some horse bones.

Working from the Inside Out

The design of the internal spaces combines careful restoration with new modern features and facilities which embrace an art deco style. Walnut, oak, bronze, brass, terrazzo and marble create a rich materials palette, complement through subtle green and gold tones. Beautiful original light fittings are being restored and combined with modern heritage style fittings.

The success of the interior is about more than just conservation. Internal spaces have been rearranged to create shared offices that have greatly increased the capacity of the building, and the flow of people through the public areas has been carefully considered to allow multiple events and day-to-day activities to take place simultaneously.

  • Project Details
  • Sustainability
  • Collaboration

Project Summary


  • Civic Trust Awards 2018 - Regional - Winner


Sustainability is high on the agenda and a separate detailed study involving dynamic simulation modelling has been undertaken to assess all options from sustainability and cost point of view. Despite greatly increasing the capacity of users within the building, we are looking to reduce the carbon emissions of the building.


Our role as lead designer involves the coordination with many disciplines such as mechanical, electrical, structural, lighting and AV specialists. The design for the more technically challenging aspects such as the new ETFE roofs has involved close collaboration with the specialist sub-consultants.

Regular site visits with the Contractor throughout the construction phases monitor the quality of works and seek to resolve any queries or make improvements as required. Changes from which are managed under a change control procedure.

As part of London Borough of Hackney’s policies, they seek to employ local Hackney labour through the main contractor where ever possible and the numbers are provided with the contractors reports.

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