Waltham Forest New Civic Building

A new civic building with workspaces, a café and south-facing campus landscaping

Gort Scott’s design for a New Civic Building at the heart of Fountain Square

Gort Scott worked with London Borough of Waltham Forest to develop proposals for the existing Grade II listed Town Hall and the design of the New Civic Building, devising new ways of working across the two buildings to enable the Waltham Forest Council to consolidate their offices onto the campus. As part of the first phase of enabling works, in 2018 Gort Scott delivered the meanwhile refurbishment of the existing disused brutalist Magistrates Court into a prototype workspace for the Council, which informed the brief for the New Civic Building.

Ground floor café and flexible workspaces for the public

The new three-story New Civic Building fronts onto Fellowship Square and opens onto south-facing existing lawns. The ground floor is publicly accessible, accommodating cafés/restaurant and council office facilities. The upper two storeys deliver 2500m2 of efficient open-plan workspace accommodating 500 council staff using a flexible neighbourhood working model. The office is designed to achieve BREEAM ‘Very Good’ and a 2% daylight factor throughout, with chilled beams and two light-wells that connect the upper floors, maximising natural light into the heart of building. The building is designed to be ‘long-life loose-fit’ with upper floors designed to allow future subdivision in a variety of ways with robust, high-quality materials used throughout.

Ground floor site plan, first and second floor layouts
Ground floor
First floor
Upper floor workspace ‘neighbourhoods’
Landscape strategy
The new three-story New Civic Building fronts onto Fellowship Square

The relationship between the New Civic Building and surrounding landscape was carefully considered to create a permeable boundary between the public realm and the new civic ground floor. Both temporary and fixed out door furniture is provided to make best use of the southern terrace. Tree planting is provided along the southern edge of the terrace to shade and protect these outdoor public spaces. The streets between the two blocks support occasional vehicle access across a level public realm. Planting beds and trees are interspersed with bench seating and short stay cycle parking to create a well protected and accessible street scape.

The design of the New Civic Building is contemporary while responding sensitively to the massing, stone materiality and the elegant simplicity of the Nordic classicism of the existing Town Hall and Assembly Hall buildings without becoming a pastiche. It aims to strike a balance of being welcoming, rejecting a 19th century projection of civic power, while still reflecting the architecture of the existing listed buildings.

Materials palette
Bay study
East elevation

Further information


LB Waltham Forest
Project type
Workplace and learning, Public and civic
In progress


London Borough of Waltham Forest, Countryside
Gort Scott Team
Fiona Scott, Jay Gort, Susie Hyden, Paul Wild
Metropolitan Workshop (Architect), Maccreanor Lavington (Architect), Stantec (Civil and Structural Engineers, Transport, Heritage, Economics, Health, Ecology, AWA (Building Services), Gross Max (Landscape), Ashton (Fire Consultant), Barton Wilmore (Planning Consultant), Storey (Civic Project Manager), AECOM (Sustainability), Make Good (Consultation Engagement), Commonplace (Online Community Engagement), Buro Happold Security (Security), MLM (Acoustician), Accents (Placemaking and Social Value)

Related Projects

Waltham Forest Town Hall Masterplan

The Magistrates

The building's main elevation with a new neon sign, facing onto a lawn.

Harrow New Civic Centre

Harrow Civic Centre, View east from Wealdstone Square

Waltham Forest Town Hall & Assembly Hall