Founders’ Hall, Chelsea

Le Lay Architects has a close working relationship with Hill House School advising them on improvement across their school building. When the school bought a former Welsh Chapel in the heart of Chelsea to be their permanent assembly hall we were asked to manage all aspects of the project and guide it through so that classes could start in the building within a year. The building had been much neglected and needed extensive restoration. Starting from an understanding of the history of the building, originally built as a dance hall, and working through the layers of accumulate history, we were able to enhance the important historic character of the hall and adapt it to new use for the school. Careful planning of the space allowed a greater number of new school activities than was originally envisaged.

As a listed building the alterations had to be thought through carefully, they needed both planning and listed building consents. We successfully guided both the school and the contractor through the demands of the conservation office, keeping the project on programme. The school is now fully aware of the benefit of restoring an historic building, with positive feedback from many parents and appreciation from those outside the school.