Conversions: former London shoe-polish factory into RIBA award-winning charity offices
Architecture 00 repurposed an old London shoe-polish factory into The Foundry, a contemporary social justice center and recent winner of a 2015 RIBA London Building of the Year Award and RIBA London Regional Award.
Located in Vauxhall, this well-decorated adaptive reuse project blends a light-filled modern aesthetic with the factory’s 20th century industrial character. The environmentally friendly restoration process and use of energy-efficient features secured the Foundry a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating.
The most distinctive feature of the social justice center’s facade is the zigzagging roofline that sits like a crown atop the new building extension. Clad in diamond-shaped zinc tile cladding, the three pitched roofs match the existing factory’s roofline and mimic the profile of a village hall.
The zigzagging extension houses a series of connected rooftop meeting rooms. The building also include flexible open-plan offices, meeting rooms, presentation rooms, catering facilities, outdoor terraces on all levels, and communal areas.
The Foundry’s facade is generously clad with floor-to-ceiling glazed openings and skylights that fill the contemporary and austere interior with light. The large windows are angled to frame views towards the street and protect against unwanted solar gain.
The austere interior is mostly constructed from low-cost concrete and timber complemented by brickwork preserved from the restored factory building. These materials can be seen together in the light-filled central atrium, which connects the new extension with the restored factory building.
“We wanted to retain the pragmatic efficiency that accompanies most industrial buildings in terms of flexibility, economy and material efficiency,” said architect Lyndon Pepper “By choosing materials that do not require finishes, as in industrial buildings, you also become more economical both in the short and long term.”