HDR has been a Service Consultant for The National Gallery for over 30 years, and 2021 has seen the completion of its largest project to date with the National Gallery; the One Accommodation Hub. The National Gallery is in London’s iconic Trafalgar Square, a public square in Westminster that features some of London’s top attractions. The gallery required much needed office accommodation in the centre of the Trafalgar Square Wilkins building.

The project work saw a full remodelling of the northeast part of the Grade I-listed National Gallery building, creating office space for 250 existing staff members in the form of a seven-floor internal courtyard office development, located in the section that formed part of the original Barry extension 1876 building. The development of the space was achieved by constructing a new seven storey tower block in one of the building’s last existing lightwells, converting the tiered ground floor and carrying out a wholesale remodelling of the historic E M Barry north building.

HDR was involved in the surveying and redesign of all MEP services through to completion.

The new, modern office space has provided substantially improved facilities that offer enhanced capability for flexible working and collaboration, proving to be a great benefit to the gallery’s existing workforce.

Part of the project work required HDR to assess the impact of the new CIBSE Covid-19 ventilation guidance. The design – which was put forward in 2017 – proved so robust it allowed the firm to keep all the installed ventilation, with no need to suspend the use of any item of plant or components. It could be said that HDR’s plant design was already Covid-19 compliant before the CIBSE guidance was published.

HDR’s review of the world-famous gallery also looked at fresh air improvements. As the atrium spaces are fresh air ventilated, it enables surrounding offices to have additional fresh air movement, making the new building light, airy and fully Covid-19 compliant.