The Towers

Client: Richmond Towers and Courts Company Ltd

The Towers is a private estate in Richmond upon Thames which is occupied by four main residential blocks, the largest being The Towers - an eleven storey 1960s building. We were appointed to prepare a strategic overview for the upgrading and refurbishment of all the common areas and landscaping.

The first stage was the refurbishment of the entrance lobby to The Towers building. Though the fabric of the lobby was in a relatively good condition, some of the finishes were shabby and an accumulation of surface mounted services, poor lighting, notice boards and other paraphernalia resulted in an underwhelming first impression. With a limited budget, a simple design was agreed, which retained the existing mosaic tiled finishes to the wall and used this subtle tone as the basis for new floor finishes and lighting design. The proposals included a new ceiling with lighting troughs to the perimeter which highlight the mosaic tiles. These were cleaned by a specialist as part of the works to reveal their sheen and texture. The new ceiling incorporated recessed track lights to illuminate artwork to the walls and discretely incorporate the required emergency lighting and various cable routes. The carpet floor finish was replaced with a new limestone floor to match the tone of the original tiles and to provide a robust, high quality finish. A new bespoke stone bench formed from the limestone flooring provides a place to meet or wait. As part of the works the existing timber curtain walling and doors were spot repaired, new spandrel panels incorporated, new ironmongery installed and Georgian wire glass replaced. The final element of this initial refurbishment project was the removal of all superfluous signs, which were replaced with a new suite of complementary signage.

The aspiration from the client was for a robust high quality environment which would complement and respect the architecture of the original building. The refurbished lobby provides a much improved environment and has helped to significantly increase property values within the block.

Given the strict budget and the notifications required under the Landlord and Tenant Act, we prepared a detailed schedule, specification and detailed drawings to obtain an accurate price from contractors to ensure that the risk of additional costs were limited.

As the single means of escape at ground floor, the lobby had to be fully accessible throughout the works. As part of the construction, asbestos planters were safely removed, and asbsestos subsequently found during construction was quickly and safely removed by a specialist contractor to ensure the contract programme was maintained. The contract was successfully managed and administered by our practice and the works were completed within the anticipated budget.