Africa House, London

Reawakening the spirit of Africa House 

With its ornate Portland stone façade, dramatic sculptures and marble 1920s art deco detailing reception, it was essential to retain the character of the Grade II Africa House, completed shortly after the First World War.

We restored the façade and reception to their former glory, and capped the new two storeys with a mansard roof with intricate leadwork.

We were also sensitive to the downstairs tenants, JD Whetherspoons and Ladbrokes, planning works around key dates, and minimising noise and vibration.

Project details

  • Client: Freshwater Group

  • Contractor: BAM Construction

  • Architect: JM Architects

  • Project Manager: Parsons Brinckerhoff

  • Structural Engineer: Taylor Whalley Spyra

  • M&E Consultants: Watkins Payne Partnership

  • Value: £25m

  • Completion date: April 2013

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Same façade - larger, more energy efficient interior

“In reality it was more a remodelling project than refurbishment,” says BAM Construction Senior Site Manager Justin Brown. As well as adding two extra floors, we also extended some levels to the rear of the building to increase office space.

 “Structurally we had to connect the old and the new frames. Lots of the original steel is in concrete encased beams – it’s how engineers guaranteed their integrity in those days,” he explains. “But for us it meant that we had to cut the beam through, clean off any concrete and then splice onto the new steel. There were some very intricate connections.”

We also improved the energy efficiency of the building by using recycled aggregate, coupled with a wood-fired biomass boiler, rainwater harvesting, green roofs and bio-diverse planting, which helped us achieve the BREEAM Excellent rating. “We’ve managed to keep the building’s splendour whilst lowering the operation and maintenance costs for Freshwater Groups’ tenants.”