London's historical Old Admiralty Building will soon be getting new occupants and a brand new makeover to boot!
The Department for Education has revealed their plans to move into the historical building as part of government efforts to reduce estate costs and fill the void left by the exit of the previous tenants, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or FCO. The move will see the much needed and long overdue renovation and preservation of the historical building which dates back to the late 19th century.
The Old Admiralty Building - more commonly known as the OAB - is the largest of the Admiralty Buildings. Located in London, the structure traces its roots back to late 19th century when its construction first began. During the construction phase however, amendments and modifications were sought and the building was thus redesigned to accommodate extra offices and lounges. The building has firmly stood the test of time and today it proudly displays its red brick architecture with white stone detailing, done in the Queen Anne Style with French influences.
The change of location for the Department for Education will take place in 2017 when the FCO will move out to consolidate their London staff into one HQ located on King Charles Street. Already, there is quite a buzz regarding the savings this move will bring. The move will save more than £19 million a year from the UK taxpayer which includes an annual saving of around £9million for the Department for Education itself. The DfE will be able to better utilize this substantial amount elsewhere.
The great news for the Old Admiralty Building is that it will finally undergo a much needed renovation and restoration. The refurbishment will see the building transformed into a more modern working environment and it will double the number of workstations in the building in order to properly accommodate the large staff of the DfE. However, creating additional structures is a challenge, particularly when historical buildings are involved. Some of these structures are centuries old and therefore very, very fragile which is why expanding the space whilst preserving the site's integrity and heritage is an enormously challenging and very demanding task.
Apart from DfE's move into the Old Admiralty Building, there is one other positive aspect of the upcoming renovation and that is the increased public access to the historic building. Public access has been limited in the past, mainly due to size and structural constraints. The upcoming renovation will make the building more accessible not just for tenants but to the general public as well. This means more people will get to experience the inside of the Old Admiralty Building in the years to come.
The 99 year lease agreement was signed between the two parties in October 2012 and will raise an additional £60 million from the sale of Admiralty Arch's leasehold. It will also create jobs within the restoration project.
All in all, it is good to see historical buildings getting much needed renovations to make them more accessible to the public and to ensure they retain their visual and historical appeal for generations to come.