Friends House in LondonÂ is set for refurbishment with Â£4.25m coming from the sale of Courtauld House on a long lease, as trustees seek to maintain the usage of the building while improving the design and making it greener and more accessible to all (images and video in linked page).
The sale of Courtauld House on a long lease has raised Â£6.6m and Â£4.25m will be put into the changes at Friends House. However, putting money into the building instead of the financial markets will reduce investment income butÂ the trustees are confident that existing reserves will ensure Quaker work will not be significantly affected, and that sustained bookings over the decades ahead will compensate for this in the long term.
Friends HouseÂ is the administrative headquarters of Quakers in Britain.Â A twentieth century listed building, it includes offices for Britain Yearly Meetingâ€™s centrally employed staff, a historic library andÂ a Quaker Centre with worship space,Â bookshop, cafeÂ and restaurant. The building also operates as a conference and events centre, with rooms let to generate income for Quaker work. Redevelopment has been considered since 2008.
Clerk to the trustees Jonathan Fox said: â€œWe want Friends House to exemplify our Quaker testimonies to simplicity, integrity, peace and equality, and to demonstrate our commitment to sustainability. Friends House is a key piece of our heritage, an asset through which our continuing witness in the world is realised. We have expressed our responsibility for its stewardship and our desire to enable the building to work for us in a manner appropriate to the 21st century.â€
The architects areÂ John McAslan + Partners and plans includeÂ a skylight concept, in which Quaker artist James Turrell has expressed an interest.
Plans include addingÂ solar panels, energy-efficient lighting, wall insulation, and heat-exchange systems. The improved layout will give people with disabilities the same opportunities as other visitors.
The new refurbishment comes just over 3 months after upgrade plans for 2011 were announced.
The work will start in June 2013 after Yearly Meeting and will take one year to complete. The first Yearly Meeting in the refurbished space will be in 2015, as 2014 is due to be a residential event.