We were appointed by the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple to analyse the capacity and ongoing suitability of Serjeant’s Inn as barristers chambers for either a single or multiple ‘set’ of chambers.
The existing building was built in the 1950s and many of the services and finishes were coming to the end of their useful life.
Initially our role was to test the fit of different sizes of ‘sets’ within the existing building envelope, working with the existing texture of the buildings structural grid, window positions and stair locations. But also to explore how new services and other improvements such as comfort cooling and double glazing could be introduced and the impat this may or may not have on the space planning opportunities. Open plan layouts were tested but principally as a way of establishing a point of comparison.
Our analysis soon showed that there were inherent strengths to the north and south wings of the building but a particular weakness in the shallow nature of the east wing that linked them.
Our appointment was extended to lead the design of the redevelopment of Searjents’ Inn.
This redevelopment proposed the rationalisation of the existing lift, stair and toilet facilities into a new centrally located core. To accommodate the new core together with a relocated entrance to the building, the central east wing is extended 6 metres into the existing courtyard. The new entrance is marked by a simple modernist bay in Portland stone that projects forward from a new brick façade that continues the style and materials found on the retained flanking wings.
As part of the reorganisation of the circulation, an additional floor was proposed to the central east wing. This not only provides additional space but links together the existing upper level floors on the adjacent wings.