Nationwide placemaker Muse has reached the end of a nine-year programme of place-changing regeneration in the heart of Brixton. The ‘Your New Town Hall’ project has created new homes, protected iconic local architecture, and provided modern, multifunctional spaces, saving the London Borough of Lambeth £4.5m per year.
For nearly a decade, Muse has been working in partnership with the London Borough of Lambeth and this month the final phase of the collaboration was successfully finished with the opening of the Lambeth Archives and a new collection of mixed-tenure homes at Palladium Court, Regal Court and the Darcus Howe Apartments.
Known collectively as the ‘Your New Town Hall’ project, the partnership spanned five sites on Brixton Hill and Acre Lane, incorporating a wide range of new-build and refurbishment. This included building a civic centre; refurbishing the Grade II listed town hall; creating private and affordable homes; and opening new community, medical and retail facilities.
The latest and final aspect of the project not only created a number of apartments across a new six-storey building, but the site’s ground and basement levels will include commercial space as well as the borough’s new archive.
The archive will commemorate Olive Morris, a Jamaican-born, British-based community leader and activist in the feminist, black nationalist, and squatters’ rights campaigns of the 1970s. The original archives building which bore her name since 1986 was demolished as part of the town centre’s regeneration. Muse worked closely with the Remembering Olive Morris Collective to design and include an external memorial stone and a glazed image of Olive Morris within the new archive to make sure that there was a central, prominent space in the borough to commemorate her.
Since the project started, a total of 194 new homes have been created across three plots. 40% of all these homes are affordable, providing a valuable boost to Brixton’s housing capacity.
Thanks to the regeneration, residents of these homes will be able to enjoy a wide range of facilities and amenities, as well as nearby commercial areas and improved local council services.
A key factor of these new spaces has been to respect the aesthetics and heritage of Brixton’s town centre, while making sure that its buildings can meet today’s sustainability and operational demands. For example, the council’s core buildings have been rationalised from fourteen to two, cutting the carbon footprint by two-thirds, while freeing up space for community purposes. The historic town hall and art deco Ivor House were also restored to preserve their iconic appearance while simultaneously creating a new civic centre, borough archives, community hub and new homes.
Mike Auger, Managing Director – South at Muse, said:
“We’re absolutely delighted to have completed this programme of work in Lambeth. As true inner-city place making that’s integral to the local community, it’s been a fascinating project to work on over the past ten years. The result is a testament to the care and attention that ourselves, Lambeth Council and the project team put into futureproofing the area while respecting its history with a focus on place, quality, and community. We can’t wait to see how these new spaces will shape Brixton moving forward.
James Stockdale, Development Director at Muse, said:
“True partnership working with the London Borough of Lambeth has enabled us to fulfil the council’s objectives while delivering new homes and facilities for the local people.
“Refurbishing the town hall and building the civic centre has created a new beating heart for the council. Lambeth Council is now able to provide new and improved facilities to everyone in the local community and new, modern workspace for their employees. The existing heritage features have been carefully blended with modern upgrades to enable a range of uses including community, workspace, co-working, affordable and private homes, and commercial space, leaving a positive and long-lasting legacy for Lambeth.
“Muse and Lambeth Council worked alongside design and build contractors McAleer & Rushe and housing association Notting Hill Genesis on the delivery of the final phase of ‘Your New Town Hall.”
Jonathan O’Neill, Senior Director at McAleer & Rushe, said:
“We are delighted to have completed construction of the final phase of Your New Town Hall, providing new homes and a purpose-built facility for the Lambeth Archives. The close collaborative working between all stakeholders has been a hallmark of the project’s success and I would like to thank the McAleer & Rushe team, our design team, subcontractors, and supply chain, who have all been instrumental in the project’s completion.
“The project is a spectacular addition to our portfolio of work in London, reinforcing our skilled capability in delivering city centre residential developments and we look forward to continuing our relationship with Muse on further transformational projects in and around London.”