The building is made up of a row of Grade 1 listed Georgian town houses and is within the Mayfair conservation area. The RI took over these houses and amalgamated them into one building. Over time, the many layers, additions and reconfigurations of the internal spaces had created a largely incoherent building with inefficient use of space and very poor circulation. Farrells were appointed as masterplanners and lead designers for its restoration and refurbishment and subsequent emergence as a ‘salon for science’, widening the audience for science to as many children, students, and scientific and lay members of the general public as possible. Planning took a total of six years and involved extensive dialogues with various heritage groups and statutory authorities.