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Parex provides classical appeal for Black Cultural Archives

PAREX renders have contributed to the classical features of a building refurbished as a new purpose built home for the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton, London.

The design by Pringle Richards Sharratt combines an existing brick-built structure with a new modern building to provide the UK’s first dedicated black heritage centre for people of African and African-Caribbean descent in Britain.

Situated on Windrush Square, it houses the collections amassed by the BCA since its foundation in 1981 as well as providing facilities for BCA’s core activities of education, research and community engagement.

Parex was involved from an early stage as the architect sought suitable lime-based renders for the derelict Raleigh Hall Grade II listed building which has been incorporated into their stylish new contemporary design. The existing building was identified as “at risk” by English Heritage as far back as 1992.

The Parex system was specified after an initial meeting with the architects who were looking for a lime system to meet the requirements of the planning authority and English Heritage.

Main contractor ROOFF Limited, of Barking, was awarded the contract with specialist applicator Eco-Rend South East Limited of Hastings, subcontracted to undertake the bulk of the rendering programme. They applied Parex Fixopierre base regulator, specifically designed for lime masonry structures, to control suction on the bricks before spray applying a base / levelling coat of Parex Parlumiere Clair, a natural white hydraulic lime restoration base coat, with full reinforcement using Parex TV10 mesh.

Feature profiles were required to replicate the original, and these were created using the Parex Parthena Moulage casting mortar, manufactured and fitted by Taylormade Facades Ltd, of Aberdare, South Wales, prior to Eco-Rend returning to spray apply, then hand finish the through coloured decorative lime plaster finishing coat of Parex Parlumiere Fin. Intricate detailing was then completed before receiving a coating of Parex Calcilane Badigeon decorative lime paint. The render and coatings were applied using a spray machine, with fine detailing applied by hand.

To protect the finished surfaces against atmospheric pollution and the elements, a final coating of Parex Paraguard AG, a clear specialist weatherproofing coat was then applied to the whole façade.

A new central glazed staircase wing links the listed building to a new limestone wing, designed as a beautifully crafted stone box, which houses the archive store and provides a dedicated, flexible exhibition space. The £7 million project included grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the London Borough of Lambeth who also gifted the Raleigh Hall building to the BCA.