The Record Hall extends and refurbishes an outmoded 1920s industrial building to create a dedicated hub for creative‑media enterprise. The project is located in the Hatton Conservation Area in Holborn, Central London which has been the historic centre of the UK’s jewellery trade since the 18th century, but has in recent years evolved to encompass a variety of creative businesses. Our ambition was to create a space that felt more active and open to different industries, while retaining space for low‑cost jewellery workshops throughout.
Formed of two distinct parts, the building is located on a tight urban site amongst the narrow streets of Leather Lane. Apart from the labyrinthine and run‑down interiors, the building’s original street‑facing elevation felt like it was the back with no clear entrance and a large part of the ground floor was occupied by a car park.
As part of the project, our work involved bringing clarity to the previously incoherent building to make it more habitable and support different types of working. By extending it outwards to the site boundary line we were able to completely reorganise the building’s interior with a generous circulation space provided around a single lightwell, with direct views through to a new and re‑located main entrance.
The building’s stepped profile is used to form a variety of workspaces, from small jewellery units in the basement, ground and first floors, to medium‑sized units around the perimeters of the middle floors defined by the pre‑existing structural grid. Large, open plan spaces are placed on the upper two floors with shared roof terraces above.
A pre‑cast redbrick façade which is seamlessly integrated with the original building fabric creates a strong and robust new public frontage. Thoughtfully designed, the façade features deep brickwork piers and chamfered spandrels to give the building presence when viewed obliquely down the adjacent narrow street. At roof level, anodised aluminum cladding provides order to a complex set of building volumes and helps to redefine the building in the townscape. Throughout the project, old and new elements are carefully combined to celebrate the historic character of the original building.