IBLA refurbished and extended a run-down Victorian villa in Barnes to create a multi-functional Cultural centre for expat Czech and Slovaks in London.

Project Name: Velehrad London
Studio Name:
Inglis Badrashi Loddo
Project size: 750 m2
Completion date: 2017
Location: London, United Kingdom
Photography: David Grandorge

Velehrad London by Inglis Badrashi Loddo - Sheet1
Hall ©David Grandorge

Velehrad London is a charity providing support for the expatriate community of the former Czechoslovakia. It is a gathering place for Czechs and Slovaks living in and visiting London, and hosts cultural, social and religious events reflecting the organisation’s history and culture. The charity recently relocated to Woolborough House in Barnes.

The existing building, the former home of Edouard Espinoza and the British Ballet Organisation, was extensively refurbished and upgraded by IBLA to accommodate a performance space, classrooms, guest rooms and a space for Catholic masses. A new lift to allow disabled access within the main house and a new independent stair to a separate flat on the top floor were also incorporated.

Velehrad London by Inglis Badrashi Loddo - Sheet2
Fireplace ©David Grandorge

Externally, the garden was re-landscaped to incorporate a ceremonial terrace where a sculpture by František Bělský, representing Jan Palach’s extraordinary self immolation, forms the focal point to a yearly service in remembrance of his sacrifice.

The building itself comprises two parts, the main house and the Coach house annexe. The main house contains the chapel, classrooms, offices and guest rooms. A separate flat, accessed by a new stair, occupies the top floor. The annexe consists of the new function hall, foyer and kitchen. It is connected by a stair to the basement of the main house, where the ‘green room’ provides a back up space to the function hall.

Velehrad London by Inglis Badrashi Loddo - Sheet3
Dining Space ©David Grandorge

Materially, the scheme is designed to complement the original buildings as much as possible, and the construction method largely reflects this with new elements constructed in load-bearing masonry.

The function hall roof was largely rebuilt in zinc on a new timber structure spanning between the original steel trusses. Great care was taken with the choice and treatment of the new brickwork to maintain consistency across the new and existing construction whilst retaining the visual sense of new and old elements.

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