The Painted Hall
by Hugh Broughton Architects with Martin Ashley Architects
Client Greenwich Foundation
Awards RIBA London Award 2019 and RIBA London Conservation Award 2019
This inspirational project has restored and conserved Sir James Thornhills’ 3,700m² of painted surfaces, among the most important Baroque interiors in Europe. With the internal environment stabilised through the inventive reuse of the building, this wonderful space is now a significant place to visit in London.
The attention to detail and craftsmanship across the project is testament to a successful, collaborative relationship between the client and architect. The incredible chance find of the remains of Henry VII’s palace by workmen during the restoration work has been successfully been incorporated into the space, further enriching the visitor experience.
The internal environment in the Painted Hall needed stabilising, as it had been damaged by fluctuations in temperature and humidity from the original entrance door opening and closing. An imaginative circulation route makes sensitive and intelligent reuse of the building’s undercroft by removing the 1950s kitchen and returning it to its original use as a place to eat and socialise. This space now includes a café, shop and welcoming space for visitors. To enhance legibility and accessibility, the brave decision was taken to remove an original brick and insert platform lifts. This has made a significant improvement to the space, making the hall accessible to all. The visitor experience has been significantly enhanced with a grand reveal of the Painted Hall as it is entered from below, via the undercroft.
New lighting, heating and ventilation have been incorporated and cleverly concealed with meticulous attention to detail to ensure they blend seamlessly with the historic hall. This effortless blend of services across the space is no mean feat and is to be commended. The new heating system provides the optimum environment for painting stability while maintaining visitor comfort.
The fully accessible Painted Hall was reopened to the public in March 2019. The conservation work has allowed more than 80,000 visitors to witness this building at close quarters and created a significant new cultural destination within London.
Contract Value £3.5m
Internal Area 2,100 m²
Structural Engineer SFK Consulting
Environmental / M&E Engineer QODA Consulting
Quantity Surveyor / Cost Consultant Huntley Cartwright
Acoustic Engineer Ramboll
Access Consultant Centre for Accessible Environments (CAE)
Lighting Design Sutton Vane Associates
Surveyor of the Fabric, Conservation Specialist Martin Ashley Architects
Audio Visual Consultant Michael Hyland & Associates
Environmental Consultant Tobit Curteis Associates
Paintings Conservator Paine and Stewart
Interpretation Designer Simon Leach Design
Health & Safety Consultant PFB Construction Management Services