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Leighton House, Kensington

Words:
Regional Awards Jury

BDP brings Kensington’s cultural gem up to date while protecting its heritage in its 2024 RIBA London Award-winning restoration and extension

Leighton House. Credit: Dirk Lindner
Leighton House. Credit: Dirk Lindner

2024 RIBA London Award

Leighton House, Kensington
BDP for Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Contract value: Confidential
GIA: 775m2

Leighton House museum and garden, on the edge of Holland Park, is Grade II* listed. Once the home and studio of Victorian artist Frederic, Lord Leighton, it is renowned for its opulent interiors and association with the Holland Park Circle – a group of artists who built studio houses in the vicinity. An extensive restoration and extension by BDP have enabled the house to operate more efficiently as a visitor attraction while preserving its heritage. The project stands as a meticulous endeavour to preserve and enhance the legacy of this historic landmark. Central to the restoration is the creation of new facilities for collection care, visitor amenities and step-free access, improving accessibility and functionality.

  • Leighton House. Credit: Dirk Lindner
    Leighton House. Credit: Dirk Lindner
  • Leighton House. Credit: Dirk Lindner
    Leighton House. Credit: Dirk Lindner
  • Leighton House. Credit: Dirk Lindner
    Leighton House. Credit: Dirk Lindner
  • Leighton House. Credit: Dirk Lindner
    Leighton House. Credit: Dirk Lindner
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The key new intervention is the addition of a helical volume sensitively placed on the side of the existing building. This provides a new stair and lift, making the house now accessible to all. The restoration, alongside the creation of new exhibition spaces, a learning centre and a collections store, ensures Leighton House remains a dynamic hub of cultural activity, fostering learning, creativity, and community engagement.

The internal and external fabric have been painstakingly restored, employing advanced techniques to preserve the building’s architectural integrity. Energy-efficient lighting and environmental controls underscore the commitment to sustainability and the long-term preservation of this historic treasure. Central to the restoration is also the reinstatement of Leighton's Winter Studio, a cherished space designed to facilitate creativity during the colder months.

  • Leighton House. Credit: Dirk Lindner
    Leighton House. Credit: Dirk Lindner
  • Leighton House. Credit: Dirk Lindner
    Leighton House. Credit: Dirk Lindner
  • Leighton House. Credit: Dirk Lindner
    Leighton House. Credit: Dirk Lindner
  • Leighton House. Credit: Dirk Lindner
    Leighton House. Credit: Dirk Lindner
  • Leighton House. Credit: Dirk Lindner
    Leighton House. Credit: Dirk Lindner
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From the helical stair adorned with a hand-painted mural to the refurbishment of the Winter Studio, every aspect of the intervention reflects a deep understanding of Leighton House's historical significance and a dedication to honouring its legacy. Through thoughtful design and craftsmanship, the restoration and extension breathe new life into this cultural gem, ensuring its continued relevance and resonance for future generations.

See the rest of the RIBA London winners hereAnd all the RIBA Regional Awards here

To see the whole RIBA Awards process visit architecture.com

RIBA Regional Awards 2024 sponsored by EH Smith and Autodesk

Credits

Contractor Quinn London
Structural and services engineer BDP
Quantity surveyor/cost consultant Jackson Coles
Landscape architect BDP
Project management Gardiner & Theobald
 

Credit: BDP
Credit: BDP
Credit: BDP
Credit: BDP
Credit: BDP
Credit: BDP

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