Ceiling Heating Preserves the Heritage of Camden’s Historic Rowley Way Estate
Designed in 1968 by well renowned Neave Brown, this charming post-war council estate has earned a respectable Grade II listed status in the heart of London since 1993. The estate occupies over 2000 residents in 500 different sized homes, from 1 bed apartments to 4 bed town houses. This design was attributed to being much “ahead of its time” during the 60’s and 70’s.
The innovative ideas used in constructing these then futuristic compact houses lent itself to some novel designs, none more so then the District Wall Heating System. This system is constructed with pipe coils embedded within the structural concrete walls, heated by a central boiler plant room which supplied heating and hot-water for all 500 homes. This allowed the Council to control the heating system for the whole estate, in turn saving money on fuel.
The Inevitable Issue
The centralised system meant the residents were unable to control the energy usage or the temperature in their individual properties, therefore during the winter periods the District Wall Heating was on continually between October and April. Often making it unbearably warm, the heat continuously circulated all through the building resulting in residents keeping windows open to cool down their homes.
50 years on, the general wear and tear has resulted in the system failing. There appeared to be evidence of corrosion within the pipework in the walls resulting in various leaks. Due to the encased pipe design, large sections of pipework must be isolated therefore leaving homes without heating. This inevitably affected the heating in the many dwellings leaving Camden Council with no option but to find a solution which the occupants and English Heritage agreed to. As a Grade II listed building they had to find a solution which ensured the original features were not affected and the homes were kept as close to the original feel as possible.
The most cost-effective proposal was to install radiators, this would allow for individuals to have more control of their room temperature however, this would reduce the small free space available in the area as well as change the identity of the building.
Camden Council approached Ramki for a system to replicate the existing wall emitters. We proposed the Variotherm Modular Wall System; however, we advised this method was unattainable as the risk of damaging the new pipes inside the wall was too high – for example drilling a hole etc. could tamper with the pipes. This was not an ideal solution for regularly changing tenants, who may not understand the implications of piercing the wall.
s earned a respectable Grade II listed status in the heart of London since 1993. The estate occupies over 2000 residents in 500 different sized homes, from 1 bed apartments to 4 bed town houses. This design was attributed to being much “ahead of its time” during the 60’s and 70’s.
Considering the feedback provided by the council, residents and English Heritage, the most suitable option was to install the Variotherm Modular Ceiling System on top of the existing concrete ceiling. This system would allow the inhabitants to control the temperature in each room, avoiding the risk of the pipes being damaged and still maintain the original features that the English Heritage were adamant in preserving.
The proposal was well received and approval for commencing works for 6 different types of dwellings was agreed. Upon completion of this project, we are very pleased to announce that the project has been a great success and we are satisfied all parties were happy with the outcome. Ramki now wait to hear if the system will be rolled out to more dwellings within the Rowley Way estate.
If you would like to visit the project, please contact us and we can arrange a demonstration of the system.