Westminster Coroner's Court (Lynch Architects extension)

65 Horseferry Lane, London SW1P 2ED, United Kingdom


"This project entails the renovation of and an extension to Westminster Coroner’s Court, a Grade II listed, Arts and Crafts building on Horseferry Road SW1. The courthouse is situated very close to the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, and to some of the major civic institutions of the UK. The client is the City of Westminster and Her Majesty’s Senior Coroner for Inner West London. The new building is designed as a stone building, whole in its own right, that sits beside and is secondary to the existing Coroner’s Court, articulated as a simple form, the two separated from each other by glazed link which connects and is subservient to both."

Ellis Wood, director of the Architecture Foundation: "The proposed extension of Westminster Coroner’s Court promises to be a sensitive addition to the site, demonstrating care for craft and architectural decorum. Appropriately monumental while maintaining the older building’s primary role within the overall composition, and without recourse to pastiche, [it] establishes a family likeness with its neighbour. Its barrel vault roof establishes a subtle relationship to the older building’s bay window, while the striated masonry gently echoes the original structure’s more graphic brick and stone banding. The contribution by the internationally recognised stained-glass artist Brian Clarke will introduce a note of colour to the new building’s austere but richly-materialised elevations. New public buildings of this quality are all too rare."

"Right at the moment, I want to put the discoveries I've made in the series of daffodils that I painted before the Vespers, and the Vespers themselves; I want to see that manifest in large public site-specific art. I'm a working-class artist, and I like to think I make art for the people. I would like to see these things in a railway station or in a bus station, in a hospital. But not just hung there: expressed in stained glass or mosaic or ceramics and become the environment in which we live, particularly in those places where people need a little bit of encouragement or comfort, an engagement with art. I suppose, more than any other time in my artistic life, I've never felt quite so close as I do today to Matisse—rather than Matisse in what he produced, but the way he produced it. I don't think I've ever felt quite so close as I do now to that extraordinary desire Matisse expressed for his entire life: the desire to share." – Brian, in conversation at the opening of Vespers, 2021.

Lynch Architects: "A nondescript 1980s mortuary sits at the rear of the Victorian building. The extension will sit to the West, overlooking an open space that is habitually used as a taxi rank, but which is transformed into a temporary mortuary in the event of a national disaster. Phase 1 of the works comprised the creation of a Garden of Remembrance, situated to the East of the existing building. It has been designed for the use of the bereaved families and friends of the deceased; whose cases are heard at the Coroner’s Court.

The new wing and gardens extend the language of the Victorian Coroner’s courthouse in a series of internal and external stone rooms, providing new office space for the coroner and her staff, as well as improved facilities for the jurors and visitors from the four London boroughs which it serves. The vaulted ceiling of the new courtroom echoes the architectural character of the top-lit glass volume of the original Victorian court. A series of artworks by the renowned stained glass artist Brian Clarke will animate the new building. Planning consent was granted summer 2020, construction commences winter 2021, and completion is expected winter 2022."