Standing next to the site of a famous Victorian theatre in Colchester where Dickens regularly gave readings, the Old Police Station is a handsome neo-renaissance building, grade II listed, wrapping around a sunny courtyard, located just inside the Roman wall which still surrounds England's oldest town.
Originally built in the late eighteenth century as an old soldiers' home, it had a lofty assembly and dining annexe and a large garden. Later it was converted into a police station. The annexe was divided into three floors, it lost its garden to development, and a new wing was added containing cells. Later still it became a public house before being rescued and turned into a studio complex for artists and makers.
The project is the first completed component of Ash Sakula’s competition-winning masterplan for the St Botolph’s Cultural Quarter.
2017 RICS Award
First floor annexe studio.
The ground floor of the original building is a café opening onto the courtyard. Its focus is a combined reception desk and café counter.
Early courtyard sketch.
The reception desk/café counter, looking towards the main entrance.
Generous circulation encourages accidental meetings and conviviality, as do the large glazed screens opening onto studio spaces.
Refurbished upper floor and stair.
End elevation of the annexe before conversion.
A teapoint with bespoke cup rack.
Early ground floor plan.
Accessible WC and shower.
Light-filled corridor with 'Mind your head' sign.
Client: Colchester Borough Council and Space Studios
Area: 1,680 m2