Kensington Town Hall north forecourt

The latest project comes 14 years after Sheppard Robson was picked for the first major internal refit of the landmark structure since its completion in 1976.

‘From investigations that have been carried out the composition of the forecourt is a concrete slab with a poured waterproof membrane and then paving bricks laid on top. The council’s proposals are to remove the existing forecourt brickwork, remove all railings, cycle racks, and install new drainage outlets and new waterproof membrane laid to fall to the new and existing drainage.’

According to the brief: ‘Over the past few years, it has come to the attention of property department that there has been a considerable amount of water ingress from the rear forecourt into the basement areas below especially to the Print Room, Meeting Rooms and ancillary areas.

Bids to deliver the contract will be evaluated 60 per cent on quality and 40 per cent on price. Applicants must hold employer’s liability insurance of £10 million, public liability insurance of £10 million and professional indemnity insurance of £5 million.


The project will move existing brickwork on the forecourt and install new drainage outlets and a new waterproof membrane to complement new and existing drainage. A skylight above the council’s Print Room will also be replaced.

Described by Nikolaus Pevsner as a ‘great red whale of a building’ the town hall – or Civic Centre as it was originally named – was designed in 1965 by Basil Spence and completed in 1976 by the John S Bonnington Partnership.

The team chosen for the estimated £40,000 contract will design and deliver an overhaul of the building’s north forecourt which has been suffering from water ingress in recent years.

Kensington and Chelsea is the smallest borough in London and the third most densely populated. Kensington Town Hall was created as the headquarters of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea on the site of two former large houses on Hornton Street.

The Brutalist-style red brick complex – which includes a large square office block along with an octagon-shaped public hall and council chamber – is often considered the last major work by Spence, who died 10 days before its completion.