Lift Installation in Heritage Buildings
Preserving History – Lifts for Heritage Buildings
In the UK we enjoy a wealth of historic and listed buildings that are not only lovely places to visit, but also serve as emblems of our culture and history. These architectural gems invite us to explore their nooks and crannies, from their captivating gardens to the exquisite artworks within. As access increases though, so does the requirement for lift installation in heritage buildings.
For the past two decades, Tower Lifts has had the privilege of working on the design and installation of lifts in historic and listed buildings, both in public and private ownership. It’s a task which provides a range of unique challenges for our team to work with. Installation must integrate with the existing architecture, without interfering with any original features, whilst also meeting building regulations and the Equality Act 2010.
Preserving the Architectural Legacy
At the heart of any lift installation in a historic or listed building lies the primary need to harmonise with the original structure. Our goal, when working in historic spaces, is to render our lifts as inconspicuous as possible, ensuring that the focus for visitors remains the building’s timeless architecture.
In pursuit of this objective, most of the lifts we install in heritage buildings are custom-designed to match the architectural nuances. Our guiding principle is conservation, and to this end, our lifts are engineered to occupy minimal space and impose the least possible disruption upon their surroundings.
Designing for Historic Environments
Once we’ve established the optimal placement for a lift, the pivotal question that arises is that of design. In this context, the use of glass is often the preferred choice, and for good reason. Glass possesses its own innate beauty, while gracefully blending into the surroundings, never overshadowing the unique character of the space.
Furthermore, it can be relied upon to harmonise with traditional building materials like stone, wood, and brick, effortlessly infusing a touch of modernity into the historical ambiance.
Occasionally, clients express the desire for a lift design that not only coexists with but also complements the style and architecture of the building it inhabits. A prime example of this is our Art Deco-inspired lift installation in Irene House, Balham. To find out more about this unique project, check out our case study.
Choosing the Right Lift for Your Unique Building
In the vast majority of historic buildings, the potential for introducing a lift shaft is minimal. For this reason, the Tower Lifts team will recommend the use of bespoke platform lifts, or low pit lifts. Our goal is to make sure the whole installation process leaves the least footprint on the environment and the building’s character.
Platform lifts are an ideal solution; they are self-contained, fitting even in the smallest of spaces with no need for a lift shaft or a separate machinery room. We design and installs bespoke step lifts, vertical platform lifts, low-rise platform lifts, and cabin lifts, all custom designed, expertly constructed, and expertly installed.
Upgrading a Passenger Lift in a Grade 1 Listed Building
Not all listed buildings are in public ownership. Tower Lifts was recently asked to replace a lift in a Grade 1 listed building in London’s Regent Park. We were using an existing lift shaft, but the process of installation was obviously a risk to the fabric and structure of the building.
In order to avoid even the slightest scuff, scrape or chip to the walls, flooring, and stairs, each of the 5 floors were covered with protective materials before any work began. We’re delighted to report that the lift was installed without any damage being incurred. To read the case study, click here.
Working With Tower Lifts
Once a lift has been installed in a heritage property, the aim is to keep repairs to a minimum. The Tower Lifts team provides a comprehensive servicing, maintenance, and repair services.