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KENSINGTON AND CHELSEA CIVIC CENTRE

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This civic centre was built in 1972-7 for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Its architect, Sir Basil Spence, was appointed in 1965 to fulfill a scheme initiated by the Metropolitan Borough of Kensington in the 1950s. Only the first phase of this scheme, a library designed by E Vincent Harris built in 1955-60, had been completed before the local government reforms of 1965. Spence's design, one of his last before his death in 1976, was approved in 1971 and constructed in 1972-7, completed and overseen by his former partner John S Bonnington. The complex comprises a loosely arranged courtyard grouping of different functional elements, each of no more than four storeys. The predominant facing material is red brick, used to clad a reinforced concrete frame as well as for the paving of the courtyard terrace and steps. Its civic spaces have a high level of finish, notably a carved Portland stone relief in the council chamber and monumental brick relief in the great hall.

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