London’s police force is moving back into its old 1930s home, originally designed by William Curtis Green, architect of the capital’s Dorchester hotel. The neo-classical building in Portland stone has been remodelled and extended by AHMM, whose brief was to make it simultaneously welcoming to the public and highly secure. The 188-year-old building on London’s Victoria Embankment is called New Scotland Yard, meaning the Metropolitan Police staff have brought the name – and famous revolving triangular sign – with them from their former 1960s tower block HQ by Chapman Taylor and Max Gordon.
As part of the refurbishment, AHMM has replaced the front door on the corner with a wide, centred front entrance that opens onto a lozenge-shaped reception area the width of the Curtis Green building, with a reception desk in untreated steel. There’s also an extra floor on the roof, and two extensions on the rear to restore symmetry of the original structure, increasing the floorspace from 8,700 sq m to 12,000 sq m.
The exterior view of the building, which overlooks the River Thames. Photography: Timothy Soar
On the back of the building, which faces Downing Street, is a brise soleil feature wall of coloured batons to diffuse daylight and ‘act as veil’ between New Scotland Yard and its neighbouring building, says AHMM director Paul Monaghan. Meanwhile, the sign’s lettering – in the 1967 Flaxman typeface by Edward Wright – has been cleaned up and backlit.
Inside includes two off-limits floors focusing on counter-terrorism, and the press department, as well as rooms for meetings and seminars. Unlike the previous offices, it is all openplan and features ‘agile working’, meaning non-allocated desks. And while much of AHMM’s interior features are standard fare (grey patterned carpet, black task chairs), they’ve had fun in the toilets. Each facility has its own colour scheme, taken from the Met’s patrol car livery from days gone by. ‘It gives people a spring in their step when they go in there,’ says Monaghan.