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Pitzhanger Hub, Ealing

Words:
RIBA Regional Jury

Jo Townshend Architects wins a 2024 RIBA London Award for its concrete- and steel-free hub which incorporates typical Soane motifs such as lanterns and the play of light

Pitzhanger Hub. Credit: Andy Stagg
Pitzhanger Hub. Credit: Andy Stagg

2024 RIBA London Award

Pitzhanger Hub, Ealing
Jo Townshend Architects for Pitzhanger Manor Gallery and Trust
Contract value: Confidential 
GIA: 35m2

Pitzhanger Manor and Gallery in Ealing holds a prestigious legacy as the former home of neoclassical architect Sir John Soane. Across from this Grade I-listed house, built at the start of the 19th century, stands Pitzhanger Hub, a modern structure designed to echo Soane’s visionary spirit and address the question ‘What would Soane do today?’. It offers a lively hub for volunteers and the local community, providing essential meeting space. Constructed between two existing listed Georgian brick walls, the new structure demonstrates Jo Townshend Architects’ commitment to both innovation and sustainability, serving as an example of concrete- and steel-free building. The design draws inspiration from Soane’s innovative principles, incorporating various motifs such as buildings within buildings, lanterns and the play of light.

  • Pitzhanger Hub. Credit: Andy Stagg
    Pitzhanger Hub. Credit: Andy Stagg
  • Pitzhanger Hub. Credit: Andy Stagg
    Pitzhanger Hub. Credit: Andy Stagg
  • Pitzhanger Hub. Credit: Andy Stagg
    Pitzhanger Hub. Credit: Andy Stagg
  • Pitzhanger Hub. Credit: Andy Stagg
    Pitzhanger Hub. Credit: Andy Stagg
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The most striking homage to Soane is the timber ceiling, reminiscent of his famous ‘handkerchief ceilings’ found in the Manor house. This design creates an undulating ‘ceiling-scape’, formed by a series of vertical fins spanning the width of the building. Above, a glazed lantern sits over the existing masonry walls, allowing natural daylight to suffuse the interior and creating a serene and inviting atmosphere.

Despite operating within a tight budget, the project prioritised sustainability and carbon-effectiveness. Reuse of existing fabric was paramount, minimising waste and preserving historical integrity. Nestled between the existing listed courtyard walls, which have been insulated to provide the envelope, the building stands as a testament to efficient use of resources. The construction methods employed ensured the building remained free of concrete and steel, aside from some minor underpinning, while the timber ceiling, laser-cut offsite as a kit of parts, was easily assembled on site using timber fixings.

  • Pitzhanger Hub. Credit: Andy Stagg
    Pitzhanger Hub. Credit: Andy Stagg
  • Pitzhanger Hub. Credit: Andy Stagg
    Pitzhanger Hub. Credit: Andy Stagg
  • Pitzhanger Hub. Credit: Andy Stagg
    Pitzhanger Hub. Credit: Andy Stagg
  • Pitzhanger Hub. Credit: Andy Stagg
    Pitzhanger Hub. Credit: Andy Stagg
  • Pitzhanger Hub. Credit: Andy Stagg
    Pitzhanger Hub. Credit: Andy Stagg
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The result is a versatile and harmonious multi-use space that embodies Sir John Soane’s visionary spirit. The building serves as a testament to his enduring influence on architectural practice, breathing new life into the historic fabric of Pitzhanger Manor.

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 JK London
Structural engineer Webb Yates

 

Credit: Jo Townshend Architects
Credit: Jo Townshend Architects
Credit: Jo Townshend Architects
Credit: Jo Townshend Architects
Credit: Webb Yates Engineers
Credit: Jo Townshend Architects

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