Re-imagining the Building Centre: WC Refurbishment

Roz Barr Architects, London, 2016


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Typical WC cubicle at The Building Centre 

John MacLean (website)     Download Original

  • Typical WC cubicle at The Building Centre    
  • Exhibition display wall and storage    
  • Entrance to WC corridor at The Building Centre    
  • Detail of tiles bedded in the floor render of the WC cubicles at The Building Centre    
  • Bespoke folded stainless steel vanity unit    
  • Typical WC cubicle and lockers at The Building Centre    
  • Cubicle panelling and corridor at The Building Centre     
  • Typical WC cubicle at The Building Centre    
  • Existing and Proposed Plan of the WC area at The Building Centre    
  • Internal elevations of the corridor to the cubicles, lockers and display wall at The Building Centre    
  • Typical WC cubicle at The Building Centre    
  • Bespoke Vanity Unit and Wash Hand Basin    
  • Joinery details of a cubicle front     
  • Perspective view of a typical cubicle at The Building Centre    
  • Catalogue of the components used in the project for The Building Centre    

Refurbishment of the lower ground floor to create new WC cubicles, lockers, and a display and storage wall

In 2015 Roz Barr Architects was approached by The Building Centre - an organisation based in London dedicated to the promotion of innovation in the built environment - to prepare a feasibility study to ‘re-imagine’ the spaces within the building to meet the ambitions of this institution.

Roz Barr Architects saw an opportunity to carry out a series of improvements, and to phase the construction work, to ‘showcase’ different materials and products.

The Building Centre works with leading organisations related to the construction industry; a series of discussions were held with relevant companies to use products within each phase to create an ‘active display' of materials, as opposed to the custom exhibition of material samples. It was important in this project that materials were selected for there physical qualities but expressed within a context never applied before. 

The refurbishment of the existing toilets was a pressing challenge; the existing vaults under the pavement were stripped out to expose the extent of water ingress. A good example of the application of materials is the use of Ronacrete - a supplier of waterproof renders - left exposed within a public building to form the final wall and floor finish. Tiles were bedded in the floor render; a technique reminiscent of traditional inlaid solid floors.

Valchromat - a leading brand of coloured high fibre board - was the material of choice for the joinery panels to enclose the vaults and form a walled enclosure with public lockers on one side and storage display facing the exhibition gallery. We wanted to showcase the benefits of this material and its diversity for CNC-ing the material by fluting the surface and embossing signage within. Toto supplied energy efficient, state of the art sanitaryware. We designed the vanity and wash hand basin unit as - due to lack of space within each cubicle - we needed the unit to be compact. Access and maintenance of services and sanitary items is incorporated in the design- a single folded sheet of stainless steel with an inset polished sheet to act as a mirror. This was fabricated by CDS group in Essex. We prototyped the unit as a bespoke piece of 'product design' that the fabricator was keen to patent and sell as a product for other projects. This innovative approach to the design of this area is an example of how materials can be displayed/showcased in the refurbishment of the existing fabric .

All construction work was carried out whilst the building remained open to the public.


  • Begun: Jan 2016
  • Completed: Apr 2016
  • Floor area: 120m2
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £240,000
  • Funding: N/A
  • Tender date: Dec 2015
  • Procurement: Traditional Procurement
  • Address: 26 Store St, Fitzrovia, London, WC1E 7BT, United Kingdom

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