The first signs of the new two storey extension have appeared on the roof of Clapham Junction’s former Debenhams, as part of the work to turn the upper floors in to an office building. As we have previously posted, the rooftop extension has quite a different style to the building below, and is set back to provide a roof terrace as well as reducing its visibility from street level.
The roof extension, shown in the cross section above, is a lightweight structure made partly of wood – to not overload the structure of the building.
The structure is not really visible at all from St John’s Road, but can be seen from the back of the building – the photo above is from Ilminster Road, where the metalwork is becoming clearly visible.
To see the wooden lattice roof section, which is set to have quite a presence in the new upper levels, you need to go further away – the photo below is a street further east, on Beauchamp Road next to the former Corner Stone Christian bookshop (which we recently posted on).
Meanwhile in T.K.Maxx downstairs, various parts of the roof have been removed, seemingly because of water leaking in to the structure. It’s easily fixable – but one small benefit is a rare chance to see the original decorative plasterwork in the ground floor, which was the grandest part of the old department store.
It’s in surprisingly good condition! Some sections of these old ceilings remain visible in T.K.Maxx’s first floor homeward section, and we know there is lots of this ceiling still in decent condition in the part of the building that was previously Debenhams. We know that W.RE are well aware of the quality of the building they have acquired, and that they plan to make the most of these high ceilings and period features in the new office section. It’s a bit of a shame that most of the ceiling in the T.K.Maxx section has been hidden away.
All in all, the roof extension is so far looking true to the artist’s impressions that were shared during the planning stage. Coupled with the news we broke last month that developers W.RE have already secured at least two tenants, which got a lot of attention and was picked up quite widely, this adds further confirmation that as former department stores around the country struggle to find a new purpose, Arding and Hobbs’ future is both fully on track, and likely to be delivered to the high standards this landmark building deserves.