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Historical London venue undergoes 21st Century revamp

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) is currently undertaking a major refurbishment programme on its global headquarters, IET London: Savoy Place. Plans for an additional lecture theatre, room expansions and a transformation of the building’s layout are all underway to maximise its riverside location and enhance the visitor experience. The venue will also retain many of its original period features.

The multi million pound investment will make IET London: Savoy Place one of the most technologically advanced and low-carbon venues in the Capital and will incorporate a number of new facilities to enable more virtual and interactive events. In addition, by shaping structural plans to achieve BREEAM accreditation, the environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings, the new venue will help event organisers deliver more sustainable events.  

The IET is home to nearly 160,000 members across 127 countries and the refurbishment will create a global engineering hub, connecting members and initiatives from around the world to one central location.  

Since the refurbishment began in August 2013, care has been taken to restore some of the original marble and mahogany features of the venue by stripping back years of modification to reveal original layouts. English Heritage has also assisted the refurbishment team in handling the Tudor foundations uncovered in the basement, during the first phase of the refurbishment.  

The site is steeped in history, serving a number of uses from a Duchy prison to a military barracks and a hospital for wounded soldiers. It became home to the IET in 1909 and the venue was official house for the Qatari team during the London 2012 Olympic Games, hosted the 2013 World Chess Championships and was also a key viewing point during the Queen’s Jubilee Flotilla celebrations.   When it re-opens in autumn 2015, IET London: Savoy Place will have a second lecture theatre, as well as a dedicated floor, the Faraday Centre, for new networking facilities such as a members’ lounge and an interactive media hub and knowledge centre. The overall aim is to improve the flow of people around the venue.  

The third floor will be dedicated primarily to the venue’s flagship Riverside Suite increasing its current capacity by over 50 per cent. In addition, the venue’s expansive library will feature prominently within the new member media-hub and plans for a new event area complete with outside space are also underway.  

Sean Spencer, Venues and Facilities Manager, IET Venues, said: “Our flagship London home has become known for its prestige, facilities and location and this major refurbishment demonstrates our commitment to keeping this much-loved event space relevant to members and customers so that it continues to meet their changing needs. With the Institution’s history rooted in pioneering and innovative technology, this investment will enable us to offer users the facilities they need now and will desire, as we strive to deliver a venue that is fit for purpose for the next 100 years.”  

Throughout the beginning of the refurbishment, the team has been collaborating with other London venues to ensure customer events take place as usual to the highest standard. The IET Venues team has also diverted attention to its Birmingham and Glasgow venues, particularly in the run up to key events, such as the Glasgow Commonwealth Games this year.

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