Fairfield Halls

Fairfield Halls

Our project identifies the need to underpin the large scale change in central Croydon with the careful heritage led regeneration of Fairfield Halls and College Green. We are determined the redevelopment is embedded in the existing, continually evolving local and regional cultural environment. The catalyst of change will be the celebrated, but declining, Fairfield Halls where a major conservation project is planned to sympathetically upgrade the venue returning many features from the original 1962 building. The wider scheme sees the replanning of College Green to provide a new amenity space and contemporary gallery for central Croydon.

Client

London Borough of Croydon 

Value

£30m

Size

21,160 m² 

Dates

2015–2018

The changes to the West elevation follow the heritage-led design principles of cleaning, repairing and where appropriate modernising. New transparent entrance glazing and doors with surrounding clutter removed will further improve the visual connection between the exterior and the interior.
The changes to the West elevation follow the heritage-led design principles of cleaning, repairing and where appropriate modernising. New transparent entrance glazing and doors with surrounding clutter removed will further improve the visual connection between the exterior and the interior.
1 / 2 The changes to the West elevation follow the heritage-led design principles of cleaning, repairing and where appropriate modernising. New transparent entrance glazing and doors with surrounding clutter removed will further improve the visual connection between the exterior and the interior.

Heritage Led Approach 

The proposals rescue the celebrated, but declining, Fairfield Halls with much-needed refurbished and new accommodation benefiting both front of house and back of house facilities, married with a grand and holistic vision for the Fair Field site as a whole. The concept underlines the history of community and the creativity in and around, and performance on the site.
 
Our approach seeks to retain the buildings iconic features whilst ensuring a sustainable future and creative re-use of existing spaces. Fairfield Halls has served Croydon well as the principal cultural venue and community meeting place of the town for 50 years and we have fully researched the modern history of the site and building to inform the design of the proposed development. We have also produced a Heritage Statement which traces the fascinating cultural history right back to the 14th Century, and outlines how the Fair Field site has continued a developing tradition of cultural heritage, now focused on the Fairfield Halls. The proposed development intends to build on that legacy for future generations of Croydon residents.

c1833. For five hundred and fifty years the Fair Field was the venue for the annual Croydon Fair, a gathering of acrobats, musicians and travelling circuses amongst other entertainment.
1868. George Street became a thriving commercial centre thanks to the railway, built in 1841. The original Croydon Public Halls were built on the corner of George Street and Wellesley Road, providing entertainment and education for everyone.
c1962.
c1959. The halls were designed in 1959 under the direction of David Beaty-Pownall of Robert Atkinson & partners.
1962. Fairfield Halls completed
1 / 5 c1833. For five hundred and fifty years the Fair Field was the venue for the annual Croydon Fair, a gathering of acrobats, musicians and travelling circuses amongst other entertainment.

Existing Condition 

Today, the Fairfield Halls are in varying states of disrepair.  The staff work hard to keep much of the building functioning much as it has since it’s early days. However, all concerned have strong aspirations for the Fairfield Halls to be modernised to maximise its potential for Croydon.
 
Planned maintenance has struggled to stem accelerating deterioration. As such, many of our recommendations for the building fabric are for replacement but with an emphasis of revealing heritage items where appropriate, stripping back to original design intent and increasing the flexibility and functionality of all spaces. We believe that, as at the Southbank Centre, taking an approach that is true to the strong original design will be well received by existing and new users. Our proposed new build elements will be contemporary using quality materials as, befitting the good quality architecture in no case seeking to copy it, the new extensions will be materials “of the time”, and driven strongly by the function that they serve in order to deliver a sustainable regeneration of the Fairfield Halls.

The orthogonal arrangement of Fairfield Halls presents four distinctive elevations, which have some relationships to the adjacent uses of the urban realm but these are limited and the proposed development seeks to improve frontage and interactivity on all sides.

Proposals 

The proposals involve £30m restoration of the iconic architecture and where appropriate modernising in line with the original design intentions as revealed through our historical research. The redevelopment will create a rejuvenated sense of arrival and strengthened visual, as well as, physical link to the surrounding public realm. A new extension to the North elevation is proposed, which will create active frontage onto college green public realm, as well as creating in improved get-in arrangement, new gallery space and improved facilities for the Ashcroft Theatre. The proposals will also redress the balance of mass and transparency and improve accessibility in all senses, as well as enhance material function and life cycle, thereby reducing maintenance and running costs.

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