Open house is an annual celebration of London's architecture and design. It allows access to more than 800 buildings not normally open to the public on the weekend of 16-17 September. This year, it celebrates its 25th year, showing everything from private houses to industrial complexes, government buildings and historic sites.
It is a free event started by Open City in 1992 and founded by Victoria Thornton. Last year, more than a quarter of a million people visited properties, attended a walk, talk or tour across the capital. The concept has also spread internationally, now held in more than 35 cities across five continents. One of the key buildings that will be part of the event this year will be the Metropolitan Police New Scotland Yard headquarters, and here is where Bryden Wood will present the Rowan House Driving Academy. Bryden Wood is acting as architect and interior designer on the project.
The New Scotland Yard is a redevelopment and extension of the 1930s Curtis Green building, and it is the new home for the Metropolitan Police on the Embankment at Whitehall, including a new curved glass pavilion entrance and extensions to the rooftop and rear. Currently, the building is not operating as a police station but is a corporate HQ and conference centre with a crime museum in the sub-basement.
The new Driving Academy is part of the redevelopment of the Peel Centre in Colindale, commonly known as ‘Hendon’. It is a world famous site for the Metropolitan Police Service, which is internationally renowned for expertise in the training of Police Officers. It is one of five ‘Regional Learning Centres’ for the MPS which trains officers across London. The aim was to create a workplace as well as an active and open frontage to the public which represent the institution. The Driving Academy receives military and international students (around 2000 per year) plus a number of visitors on regular basis.
The site has been divided into parts, with the Driving Academy occupying the southern and eastern area of the site to satisfy MPS requirements. These include the temporary and future permanent access from Rowan Drive, maintaining privacy for future residential developments, accommodation and parking for the training areas with provision for the expansion during its future phases. Approximately 50% of the total available site area will be occupied by the building and the external training areas.
The centre has a dual function. The academy has a semi-public functionality due to it being occupied by MPS students, staff and visitors with the storage building being used by MPS employees for training material and logistic equipment.
The construction methodology is for a steel frame to be clad in a panelised wall and roof system, which comes with its finished materials - brickslips and fibrecement board. This allows for a fast track delivery of a challenging programme. A minimal material palette has been selected for the building to create a modern aesthetic, containing references to Peel House whilst maintaining an individual identity. The full design is an integrated BIM Level 2 project; the level of information included ensures fully coordinated information, compliance with the project BIM execution plan and BIM standards.
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