We have some major decisions to make about our much-loved headquarters building on Birdcage Walk. It is now 122 years old and belongs to the Charity but it is our responsibility as members to manage it. It is beautiful and iconic but like all old structures it now needs extensive refurbishment.
In 2019 we established a Real Estate Strategy Group to identify options to secure the future of Birdcage Walk. This Group is headed by Helena Rivers, one of our Trustees and who brings extensive knowledge and experience from her work as a consulting director in real estate.
After considerable work over the last 18 months looking at the alternatives, the Group’s preferred option is to grant a long-term lease of 3 Birdcage Walk which would provide funds to refurbish 1 Birdcage Walk, and also hopefully provide a surplus.
The refurbishment is an exciting opportunity to update member spaces and facilities as well as create an energy-efficient building which would be a centre of mechanical engineering excellence. We need to improve accessibility for all, including wheelchair users, and make navigation around the building easier.
The move to greater home working due to the pandemic has reduced the need for staff space. We will be able to accommodate all staff space and member space and facilities within 1 Birdcage Walk.
We have more information about the project here as well as answers to some questions you might ask. We also have floorplans which show how the space in 1 and 3 Birdcage Walk is used at present.
We are looking for your feedback to develop and refine this option to upgrade our headquarters and member areas within 1 Birdcage Walk, protecting it for generations to come.
Update from the Real Estate Strategy Group - 29 March 2021
Since our last update, the Real Estate Strategy Group have been working with Wilmott Dixon to generate ideas and develop design themes for the proposed scheme. Wilmott Dixon have created a ‘Concept Design’ document which conveys these design suggestions.
Within the document you will see that the Institution’s strategic objectives are reflected alongside technical solutions to some of the challenges we are seeking to address, such as accessibility and improvement to member facilities. The images within the document are intended to reflect the feel of our building following the proposed work. They are aspirational images of similar projects from which we can draw inspiration. You will see a blend of modern design that complements the heritage of the building while also ensuring it is fit for purpose in a technological age.
It is important to note that we are currently at Concept Design Stage (or RIBA 0-1, for those within the construction industry.) The aim of this document is to communicate with you, in a very visual way, the progress being made. The next step will be to prepare layout proposals on a floor-by-floor basis using 3D surveys of the building, which have recently been undertaken.
I would like to finish by reminding you how important it is that we hear your thoughts on this project. We encourage you to leave your feedback below, to help us develop and refine the proposal to upgrade One Birdcage Walk and protect it for generations to come.
Birdcage Walk Floorplans