The call for the establishment of a mission for the French community in London came in 1861. Louis Auguste Boileau, an Architect and promoter of cast iron architecture transformed a former tourist attraction of Leicester Square into a new church. It was the first church built using cast iron in London, and was consecrated in June 1868. The mission included a hospital, an orphanage and two schools.
The original building was badly damaged in the war, and although reopened after extensive repairs, was finally rebuilt with the support of the French and British governments. The foundation stone was brought from the Cathedral of Chartres and laid on 31 May 1953. The architect was Hector Corfiato of Beaux Arts de Paris. The French Cultural Attaché René Varin encouraged the creation of a sacred space, which would honour France. He approached many eminent artists of the time (including Jean Cocteau and Dom Robert who all contributed to this most extraordinary place.
Over a period of four years we worked with the parish to replace a failing 1990s lighting scheme with a new programmable system which also included carefully relighting the art collection, aiding its long term conservation. The new lighting significantly enhances the presentation for of Notre Dame for worshippers and the many international visitors that come to see the spiritual home of the French community in the UK.
St Marylebone Church has served its Parish since the early 12th Century, when the first church was constructed. The current building constructed in 1813 and consecrated in 1817 is in fact the fourth one since then, designed by the renowned architect Thomas Hardwick. The church saw major post-war renovations, with an extension of the crypt in the 1980s. However it suffered from poor accessibility and several layout compromises. As part of its 900 year celebrations, the Changing Lives project was launched to refurbish and reinvigorate the building, to ensure its continued relevance to the communities it serves.
Following completion of the initial Heritage Lottery Fund Round 1 application in 2014, we were delighted to have successfully bid with Caroe Architecture to progress this ambitious scheme through detailed design and the construction stages. The church is Grade I Listed, located in central London, in a constricted site. The project included substantial remodelling of the existing Crypt, main entrance and vestibules, and replacement of the roof. New meetings spaces, a volunteer room, flexible artwork displays and pop-up kitchen facility were provided. The entrance to the existing NHS GP practice was reconfigured, with a new reception and waiting area. A new lift and feature staircase joins the Crypt to the ground level entrance. The works were carefully sequenced to allow continued use of parts of the Church and the GP practice throughout.
Engineering services included renewal of the major M&E systems within the Crypt and entrances. Being located on Marylebone Road with heavy pollution, ventilation systems were upgraded with bespoke HEPA filters to significantly improve indoor air quality, with heat recovery to reduce energy usage. The building includes a rare example of a functioning Perkins heating system, thought to have been installed in the 19th Century. This had to be carefully modified to suit the new layout. New lighting uplifts the Crypt spaces which lack daylight, and enhance the new entrance stairs. External lighting within the Portico was renewed, including refurbishment of the original torchiere lanterns.
Images – Alan Baxter
Equal Access, St Paul’s Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral, with its world-famous dome designed by the renowned British architect Sir Christopher Wren, is an iconic feature of the London skyline. This grade I listed building is steeped in history and draws in visitors from all over the globe.
CBG Consultants were appointed with the creation of a permanent accessible entrance to the north side of the cathedral. The north transept Porch provides inclusive access for visitors, staff, and volunteers. The Porch is the main visitors entrance and acts as a welcoming point with a clearly identifiable information point. In addition, it also helps with controlling traffic visitor flows, congestion, and security.
As of May 2021, plans were extended to include a memorial to commemorate those who have died as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The tribute is an online book of remembrance which was installed in a purpose-built structure, more than 9,400 names have been entered into the book as part of the cathedral’s ‘Remember Me’ project. The online book contains the name of the deceased, their photograph, and an epitaph written by their loved ones. It is hoped the memorial would provide a reflective space for visitors to remember and to mourn those closest to them.
CBG Consultants were appointed by the client to undertake a lighting design and issue a few proposals to showcase the entrance lobby. CBG Consultants also designed the access control and power requirements for this project.
Winner – 2023 Civic Trust Awards
Winner – 2022 RICS Awards (Category: Heritage – London Region)
Winner – 2023 UIA Friendly and Inclusive Spaces Awards (Category: Refurbished Existing Buildings, including Historic Buildings)
Winner – 2023 Georgian Group Architectural Awards (Category: New Building in a Georgian Context)
Images – Graham Lacdao & CBG Consultants
St Paul’s Cathedral School
St Paul’s Cathedral School is a co-educational preparatory school for boys and girls aged 4 to 13 and a residential choir school for the boy choristers of St Paul’s Cathedral.
The school identified a need to increase capacity and improve its facilities to its pupils. The project included building a new boarding house, which was to provide accommodation to reflect current regulations, with the desire to exceed the expectations and to secure the culturally significant English Choral tradition for future generations. The accommodation, running over two floors, includes 36 beds, common rooms currently configured as a games room and cinema room, bathrooms, plus ample quiet social spaces. The building also included residential staff accommodation, more classrooms, ICT suite, an enlarged and refitted dining hall and kitchen and bespoke play equipment.
CBG Consultants was appointed to provide M&E design and sustainable consultancy services for the project. The CLT extension provided a good opportunity to reduce energy costs through high insulation and low infiltration rates inherent with the timber panel building system. The building was modelled to test overheating and the detailed design incorporated feedback from the modelling including optimising glazing selection and variable ventilation rates within the spaces to mitigate both occupancy numbers and summer overheating.
The boarding house design faced the problem of requiring adequate fresh air, avoiding overheating, and keeping out road noise and pollutants whilst being connected to a Grade 1 listed building. Large air conditioning plant was ruled out in favour of opening windows supported by discreet ventilation units, co-ordinated into the building design.
The design team recognised the location significance and the planning conditions concerning internal air quality. Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery Units (MVHR) were provided locally for each boarding room and communal spaces, running at continuous low speed operation with boost triggered by air quality sensing. Final filtration included NO2, PM2.5 and PM10 modules.
Images – Nick Kane Photographer
Woburn Abbey, Bedford
Home to the 15th Duke of Bedford, Woburn Abbey dates from 1620, and is Grade I Listed. First opened to the public in 1955, the site is now undergoing its largest transformation since then.
Working with Nick Cox Architects, CBG Consultants have developed an Estate master plan strategy. The master plan includes the construction of a new entrance building and visitor retail centre; a new restaurant, tea rooms, exhibition spaces and education facilities within the north and south courtyard buildings; and the major refurbishment and remodelling of the Abbey itself.
The current phase of works sees the renovation of the extensive public spaces within the Abbey building. These range from basement silverware and gold display vaults, to open galleries of antique furniture and priceless Canaletto paintings. The unique Grotto is included in the works, a room lined entirely in sea shells.
M&E works include the provision of new mains infrastructure around the building; new lighting and electrical wiring; installation of a lift; upgrading of fire and security systems; and major modifications to heating and ventilation systems. Elements of the master plan works are also being undertaken around the wider Estate, to support future development phases.
Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew
Founded in the 18th Century, the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew is the one of the world’s oldest research facilities of its kind.
The site comprises of many historic buildings which are famous in their own right, including the Pagoda, Palm House and Temperate House. Its importance was recognised in 2003 when it became a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The mechanical and electrical infrastructure has evolved constantly as the site has expanded and developed, with many ad-hoc additions made over the decades. Despite the existence of substantial record drawings and archive information, inevitably there were gaps and inconsistencies in the knowledge of the site. We were appointed to undertake both a strategic level review of the site electrical infrastructure, and detailed building by building surveys. This remit included the home of the Millennium Seed Bank at Wakenhurst Place, Sussex.
We initially carried out visual surveys and inspections of the record information. Following this, we advised where intrusive investigations were needed, and supervised the undertaking of these by qualified specialist contractors. Ranging from the upper galleries of the famous glass houses, to concealed Victorian tunnels and state of the art laboratories, our surveys took us to all areas of this unique and important site.
The client now has a comprehensive accurate record of their assets, and an understanding of what capacity is available for future developments. This will support their work through the next few decades.
Located directly to the north east of Chathams town centre, Fort Amherst is one of the country’s best preserved Napoleonic Fortresses. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, previously on Historic England’s ‘at risk’ register, with numerous listed structures and sites.
The ambition for the ‘Command of the Heights’ project was to restore and enhance Fort Amherst, as a space of historic significance, with a strong vision for the future, and to inject new lifeblood into the area, by engaging people from all walks of life to help shape the future of the site.
The vast site poses many logistical challenges, with a network of tunnels, barrier ditches and hilly terrain. The project includes the conversion of former gun casemates at the summit of the site into an open-air theatre; creation of a new visitor access to the site from the main road; installation of a new WC block and demolition of a former MOD office building to reinstate the historic lines of the lower site defences.
Engineering services include new power and water distribution across the site, M&E services to the theatre, landscape lighting, and diversion of a former UK Power Networks substation.
Performance photographs are of ’The Chatham Witch’ by Icon Theatre, Chatham, Kent.
Restaurant & Apartments Conversion, Lincoln College
CBG Consultants were delighted to deliver this prestigious development for Lincoln College on Oxford High Street.
The project involved the conversion of a Grade II Listed former bank dating from 1866, into a new restaurant and upmarket apartments. The team were keen to restore and retain period features, such as an original ceiling discovered in the banking hall that was previously concealed. Bespoke M&E services strategies were developed to maximise the historic appeal of the spaces.
New services were provided throughout, including construction of a new lift. We designed the shell and core scheme and acted as technical advisors for Lincoln College, to review the proposed restaurant fitout by The Ivy. We worked closely with their fitout team to ensure mechanical and electrical services strategies were developed that would work within the confines of the site and defined tenant demises. Control of odours from cooking was a particular concern, with a scheme to mitigate these. The location of plant near to residential units required close scrutiny of acoustic performance also. Future maintenance and plant replacement strategies were developed and included within the Agreement for Lease.
Full design was undertaken for the apartments, with lighting, electrical services and air conditioning developed to a high standard specification. The residential development includes a new feature stair with bespoke suspended lighting, which links to the existing Alfred Street apartments.
Oxford Preservation Trust 2020, Building Conservation Category – Certificate
Renewable Energy Feasibility Studies, National Trust
In 2012 the National Trust launched their Renewable Investment Energy Programme, committing over £30 million to halve their carbon emissions by 2020. CBG have worked with the Trust on at least 11 significant properties across the south of England. We have advised how the National Trust can utilise renewable energy sources to reduce these emissions.
The technologies we have considered include; biomass, solar PV, solar thermal, wind, combined heat and power, and heat pumps which can harness renewable energy from the ground, water or air.
Our feasibility assessment process includes detailed studies of the properties, liaising with staff and stakeholders, radiator surveys, load monitoring, and heat loss calculations, culminating in a comprehensive feasibility report that evolves to incorporate feedback from the Trust’s approval stages.
CBG have continued their project support through the tender process, providing tender return analysis and attending interviews. We undertake site visits throughout construction, as well as write inspection reports, and act as CDM Principal Designer.
Christ Church Cathedral
CBG Consultants were appointed by Christ Church, for the phased renovation of the Cathedral in 2017.
Dating from the 12th Century, the Grade I Listed Cathedral was last rewired in the mid 1990s. A proposed project to clean and restore the high level building fabric gave the opportunity to renew electrical distribution and the lighting installation, which had become dated.
We worked closely with the lighting designers Sutton Vane Associates, and Purcell Architects, to develop the new electrical infrastructure proposals. This had to be installed over several phases of work whilst the Cathedral remained in use. Much of the servicing of the building is done using the high-level clerestory walkways. While these provide a convenient route, they also pose a risk to maintenance personnel, with access available only with safety harnesses to two people at a time. We developed a scheme to minimise the need to access these walkways, by locating the drivers and power supplies for the lighting system in central locations away from the clerestories. These are more likely to require future maintenance than the light fittings themselves.