Case Study: ​3 Bespoke Lifts at Gunnersbury Court

The London and the South East branch of Stannah Lift Services has completed a major lift refurbishment and modernisation at Gunnersbury Court, an authentic Art Deco apartment complex in West Acton, London, built in the 1930s.

Challenging aesthetics

Ranged over three buildings and surrounded by extensive grounds, this sought-after residential development was recently given a total overhaul, with a sympathetic replacement of the antiquated lift system central to the project.

“Stannah engineers were a pleasure to have around. They did a great job, over a long period of time, and demonstrated constant consideration for the residents. They minimised necessary disruption to services and kept the site secure at all times. Although everyone was sad to see the original lifts removed, the new lifts still reflect the 1930s feel of our buildings. The wood and brass lift car is pleasing to the eye and residents certainly enjoy a considerably smoother ride.”
Resident at Gunnersbury Court

Problem-solving solution

The London office of global engineering consultants, Arup, awarded the contract to British independent lift company, Stannah, on behalf of Gunnersbury Court Limited.

As all residents were ‘at home’, a softly-softly approach was adopted for the lift replacement. Each building’s new lift and related building work was completed one at a time so only one apartment block had an out-of-service lift at any one time.

Stannah’s team of lift engineers was on-site for a total of 32 weeks, so it was crucial that they worked in a way that was acceptable to the residents, whilst ensuring completion of the job on time and budget.

Letting go

The residents were, understandably, attached to the heritage façade and original signage in the entrance halls, so it was not surprising that news of the complete removal of ‘a significant part of the history of the building’ was not welcomed. The stylish old 4-person passenger lifts featured oak lift cars with all brass fittings, open-work shutter-gates, and bronze ‘cage’ shafts that really reflected a bygone-age of elegance.

All parties were keen to maintain the 1930s’ aesthetic whilst improving safety and performance. The refurbishment team originally considered retaining the caged shaft as this allowed maximum light into the stairwell and each floor; but this proved an unsafe option as it presented a potential trapping hazard for fingers and clothing, between the shaft and the lift car. A compromise was reached which retained ‘style’ but improved running costs, operating systems and the safety of everyone using the lifts.

Feel the difference

The three new lift systems and their accompanying, completely modernised and refurbished machine rooms have so many benefits:

  • reduced operating costs and improve performance
  • accurate levelling and a smoother ride
  • shafts replaced by solid structures
  • lighting improved to compensate for the loss of natural light
  • new lift cars given a bespoke wood finish with a brass architrave inside and out, brass handrails, and operating buttons mounted on a bronze panel
  • 2100mm internal car height
  • 1 m/s rated speed
  • permanent magnet VVVF gearless traction drive

Access to the centrally positioned machine rooms on the flat roofs is provided by short stairways from the top floor landings.


Extra works

  • sites deep cleaned
  • redecoration of all surfaces
  • replacement of original motor room windows with toughened glass to conserve energy
  • outside door upgraded

Maintaining performance

All lifts were installed with a Stannah 1-year, full maintenance package as part of the contract. They are serviced by our London and South East branch of Stannah Lift Services, our nationwide network providing 24 hour, 365 days a year support. We provide service, repair, modernisation and refurbishment of all types of lifts, stairlifts, escalators and moving walkways – not only those from the Stannah product range, but also other lift manufacturers’ equipment. We also offer a bespoke lifts service, custom-building lifts to meet customers’ specific requirements.

We are committed to delivering:

  • the best quality products
  • superior service
  • good value for money
  • and, last but not least, complete reliability
“The challenges of this project were always met with good humour and professionalism from Stannah personnel. We are delighted with the outcome. Gunnersbury now has efficient and economical lifts sympathetic to their surroundings.”
Roger Hawkins, Architecture & Planning Associate, Arup