Waltham Forest’s elegant Town Hall is being restored and the civic campus transformed into a vibrant new neighbourhood.
The Grade II listed Waltham Forest Town Hall and Assembly Hall, along with the surrounding landscape, are being sensitively transformed into a place where council staff, local business and residents come together. As the initial phase of the wider campus regeneration, Grade II listed Waltham Forest Town Hall and Assembly Hall, along with the surrounding landscape, will be redeveloped to become a welcoming heart for the local community and a collaborative workplace for the Council workforce.
Whilst numerous councils are opting to convert their historic town halls into luxury homes, hotels, venues or workspaces, Waltham Forest has decided to retain the building’s original purpose and redevelop it to accommodate their changing needs and objectives.
The buildings and their surrounding external features are Grade II listed, designed as part of the monumental masterplan by Philip Hepworth and built during the Second World War. Over the years, the campus has seen incremental alterations and additions both internally and externally. Our first challenge has been balancing the need for transformation and conservation - determining which building elements to retain and even enhance, and which to alter to improve functionality. As a result, later and less sympathetic interventions are being removed to foreground the original features and intentions.
The big idea
The civic campus is a democratic place where staff, residents and visitors will always feel welcomed and involved. As its centrepiece, the Town Hall and Civic Square will embody this. A flexible foyer, accommodating everything from collaborative working to evening events, welcomes people in, and the civic suite is transformed to accommodate both community celebrations and council business. An interactive water feature replaces the tired fountain at the main entrance encouraging children to play in the water on a hot day, whilst also forming a fully accessible forecourt to host large scale events.
The Council’s existing workforce is spread over several sites and with that come inevitable operational inefficiencies. Refurbishing the Town Hall, and the addition of a new civic centre, will consolidate staff in one location and free up the vacated sites for much needed housing. Cellular offices are replaced with open-plan, agile workspaces to promote collaboration, wellbeing and efficiency.
Waltham Forest is 2019 London Borough of Culture. Building on this legacy we are collaborating with local artists and designers to create a truly unique Town Hall for Waltham Forest.