Freemasons Hall Universal Access Entrance and Service Lift Design and Access Statement Ref. 1520-02; date 22.03.2010
Freemason’s Hall Great Queen Street Camden London WC2B 5AA is an historic building listed grade II* built between 1927 and 1933 to a design by Ashley and Winton Newman. The building occupies an irregular polygonal site. Its predominant impact in terms of townscape is the western corner tower with the main ceremonial entrance beneath. It is described as being stripped classical in style with the long facades punctuated by slightly projecting entrance bays. On a steel frame, the roof is of massive concrete construction clad on the perimeter with fine welsh slates. The external walls are clad in Portland stone with fine carved detailing to doors, windows, plinths, string courses and cornices. Internally, the main entrance halls are finished in austere neo Grecian style with rich marble floors and bronze fittings.
None of the current entrances are designed to provide for universal access and thus special arrangements have to be made for wheel chair users. Of course the same applies to deliveries requiring wheeled access. Internally there are lifts for people, including one providing for disabled access, albeit some distance from the main entrances. There is a small service lift adjacent to the entrance facing on to Great Queen Street. The proposal is to make a new opening adjacent to the Queen Street entrance to provide level access to the building and to a new lift. This will be a fire escape lift, universally accessible and also suitable for goods delivery to each floor and to roof level. A generous new lobby between the new entrance and this lift will be directly connected to the existing entrance hall. It will have finishes and fixtures that match in terms of materials and character. In the entrance hall the current reception facilities are rather cramped and the intention is to extend the area available to the security staff in a manner that allows for them to manage both the new and the existing entrances more efficiently. Only diagonal views of the façade Great Queen Street façade are available due to the width of the street. The opening for the new doorway is to be restricted to the width of the windows above with detailing to match. The aim is to maintain the rhythm of the façade and to avoid unnecessary visual competition with the adjacent entrance. The door will be of restrained design clad in bronze to match those exiting. Signage and lighting at low level for the new entrance is to be set into the reveals to be created in the perimeter wall. The new lift will be located within a shaft running from basement through all floors, currently occupied by a service stair surrounding a smaller lift. The shaft is to be