Clerkenwell jewellery hub praised for bringing together old and new.
By Jessica Knowles
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has named the Goldsmiths’ Centre in London’s Clerkenwell one of the best designed workplaces in the East London Region as part of its 2013 awards.
The centre, which opened just over a year ago, is the result of a collaboration between architects Bills and Young, Lyall and the Goldsmiths’ Centre.
The centre’s director Peter Taylor said: "We are delighted that the quality of the architecture of Goldsmiths’ Centre has been recognised in this year’s RIBA Awards. There is no doubt that the physical environment of our building makes a huge contribution to the effectiveness of our work with those working or aspiring to work as goldsmiths.
"The centre is an excellent example of the architect and client working in tandem with each other to produce something that is much greater than the sum of the parts."
The project took an existing Grade II listed London board school and refurbished and extended it to create workshops, professional training and education space as well as conference and exhibition facilities.
A glass atrium links the traditional board school building with modern workshops, studios and events space, making use of the original covered playground area.
The exterior of the building references its modern-day use with hand-patinated brass panels that have been set against York stone.
Lead architect on the project, John Lyall, commented on the success of the collaboration: “It is always gratifying to win accolades for your work but on this occasion success is particularly sweet.
"Our design vision has been inspired by the creativity and craftsmanship of the goldsmith and the fantastic, supportive community that the Goldsmiths’ Centre is building for generations to come. Bringing that community together through functional but creative design is something we’re particularly proud of."
The Goldsmiths’ Centre opened in 2012 and cost £17.5 million to build. It regularly houses jewellery-related exhibitions and is home to a number of jewellery designers and firms including Imogen Belfield, Kit Heath and Elliot Fitzpatrick.