This Grade II listed former Royal London Hospital building is being brought back to community use as the new Town Hall and headquarters for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. It is one of London’s oldest historic landmarks and has been at the heart of the borough’s history since it was opened to patients in 1757.
The new town hall, which will be part refurbishment of the existing Grade II listed building on the site of the former Royal London Hospital building on Whitechapel Road and part new build at the rear, and will provide a total of 26,700m2 of civic office space including an open-plan office space on the upper floors.
The design and construction of this purpose built Town Hall will provide over 1,700 contemporary, flexible workspaces plus a range of meeting rooms and welfare facilities for council staff and other partners. The former hospital’s iconic street elevation will be restored with a new public entrance on the ground floor of the Grocers’ Wing.
The building has been designed to be more than just an office for council staff. At its core will be an accessible environment, taking up the entirety of the ground floor, in which residents will be able to essential services.
The entire ground floor will be dedicated to public use and will offer an open accessible local presence atmosphere which brings people together and enables them to access council services in one place. The ground floor local presence will host meeting and shared spaces, a café and the council chamber.
There are some complex challenges to the building of this project: an emergency helicopter flight path above; a London Underground tunnel below; a combination of busy roads and party walls around the site and the proximity of two large, working hospitals, the Royal London Dental Hospital and the Royal London Hospital.
Throughout the project, Bouygues UK will be employing methods intended to protect both heritage and the environment. The building will be awarded a BREEAM Excellent rating because of features such as optimised water consumption and the use of renewable energies to generate electricity. Circular economy methods will be implemented on the construction site to reduce the generation of waste, while protective measures will be put in place during the works for the benefit of certain species of birds and invertebrates in order to ensure that local biodiversity is respected.
The new Town Hall forms part of the Whitechapel Vision, one of London’s largest regeneration projects, which includes the construction of a new life sciences campus, seven new public spaces and 3,500 new homes, along with the creation of 5,000 jobs. The Town Hall will be in the most accessible part of Tower Hamlets, next to the new Whitechapel transport hub, served by four train and tube lines along with bus and cycle routes.
At its heart will be a community feel with a café, outdoor spaces, and an idea store. Whether you want to host a meeting, borrow a book or get involved in what is happening in your neighbourhood, the town hall will bring people together and make Tower Hamlets a better place.John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets