Len House is located in the heart of Maidstone and was built in the 1930’s as a purpose-built showroom and manufacturing facility for the Rootes Group, famed for the construction and sales of vehicles. On Architecture were commissioned to take the project forward and to develop the scheme into a workable and compliant scheme.
The building itself, is constructed in the Art Deco style, utilising stone cladding for its façade with large Crittall windows which flood the interior with light and is Grade II listed.
In 2020 planning and listed building consent was granted for a mixed-use scheme seeing the building converted into 80 apartments with retail units on the ground floor. To accommodate this number of apartments two new storeys are to be added to the roof of the building.
The focus for the design team was to avoid overloading the existing structure to avoid new structure peppering the open plan ground floor. Construction details were developed that focus on lightweight materials while still providing robustness and high levels of acoustics.
Marrying the new use within the existing structural frame and the permitted planning levels was challenging but overcome by the team.
Again, to reduce weight of any roof plant and to deliver a sustainable scheme, the entire scheme is electric.
To give access to the retail units a new cantilevered walkway along the river is to be constructed. The construction of which was developed to be installed largely from inside the building avoiding the damming of the river while also being safer for the construction company. The design of the walkway was also designed in such a way that it could take the weight of scaffolding to aid the refurbishment of the façade.