AJ Retrofit Award 2012 (Listed Building/Structures category): Shortlisted
The New Forum for the Royal Academy of Engineering was opened in the spring of 2012. The Forum is at 3-4 Carlton House Terrace, listed Grade I with interiors designed by Decimus Burton. However, it suffered bomb damage during WWII and severe fire damage in 1989. The Academy’s refurbishment by Burrell Foley Fischer removed unsympathetic 20th century alterations and reinstated the scale and integrity of the principal rooms on the ground and first floors. The approach to detailing was not of restoration but of developing a design palette that is appropriate to the scale of the interior spaces, the historic significance of the terrace and its occupation by the Royal Academy of Engineering. The objective was to develop an appropriate language to be interpreted as ‘calm, serene and timeless’.
The Forum provides four multi-use rooms at ground level, which are suitable for exhibitions, receptions, meetings and dining, and can be used individually or as a suite. A 170-seat lecture theatre is located on the first floor, together with an overflow lecture theatre/meeting room and associated break out space. To provide a single accessible entrance through 3 Carlton House Terrace for all visitors to the Forum, a new sinuous bridge and ramp were designed, rising gradually across the forecourt to make up the one-metre level difference between the pavements and reception. Historic research revealed that Decimus Burton proposed a garden with a winding 'picturesque' path and BFF used this as an inspiration for the bridge design. The bridge is constructed in stainless steel plate, fabricated in triangular hollow section, polished to achieve a high quality finish.