Motor car showroom of 1961 by William H Arend & Son, with engineering by TRUSCON, built using portal frame construction. Later C20/C21 alterations (which are not of special interest). The building stands on a slightly elevated site looking out onto Ewell by-pass.
Reason for Listing
Ewell Honda, a motor car showroom of 1961 by William H Arend & Son, with engineering by Truscon Ltd, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: it is a stylish building which uses its portal frame construction to create a striking futuristic aesthetic;
* Rarity: the building is a rare example of an ambitious and architecturally successful post-war motor car showroom.
Advertised in 1961 as the Dawnier Motors Ltd. showroom, the building now known as Ewell Honda was designed by William H Arend & Son using the expertise in reinforced concrete of Truscon Ltd.
The showroom faces out onto Ewell by-pass, at the corner with London Road (the main route through the centre of Ewell). Ewell's by-pass was built in the early 1930s to divert traffic around the outside of the village. The growth of car ownership in the inter- and post-war years led to the construction of by-passes to alleviate congestion, and with by-passes came buildings catering to the needs (and desires) of passing motorists; petrol filling stations, road houses and car showrooms sprang up along their route.
MATERIALS: the building is composed of reinforced concrete portal frames with glass in-fill to the front and back, and rendered brick infill to the sides.
PLAN: the showroom has a single storey and is formed of ten radiating portal frames with a near 12m span, creating a fan-shaped floor-plan; the outer curve of the fan forms the showroom frontage, whereas the tight inner curve faces the rear of the site. The uprights of the portal frames are slightly angled inwards towards each other, resulting in the front and rear walls raking inwards. The roof is mono-pitch, gently sloping down from the front curve to the rear curve. Beneath the showroom is a basement workshop (originally a car store) which is accessed from the south at ground level, where the site slopes downwards sharply.
EXTERIOR: the curved showroom frontage is composed of the raked uprights of the portal frames, which taper downwards from top to bottom, in-filled with glazing. Cantilevered out at 90 degrees from the uprights are concrete brackets which carry a projecting canopy. Above the canopy the glazing continues, creating clerestory-like windows; although these windows survive, they have been painted over, or otherwise blocked-out. The main entrance to the showroom is through glazed double doors in the centre of the frontage, and there is a single personnel door at the either sides of the frontage. The doors are not original, but follow a simple pattern, likely to be similar to the originals.
A modern fascia has been applied to the outer edge of the canopy, and the under-side of the canopy, the canopy brackets, and the outer parts of the portal frame, have been clad with grey sheet aluminium.
INTERIOR: the showroom was originally open-plan, with the portal frames fully expressed internally. The showroom remains largely open-plan, although several offices and toilet facilities have been created towards the back of the space. The offices are glass-fronted, so the rear uprights of the portal frames, and the glazed infill between them, can still be appreciated, however a false ceiling has inserted throughout the showroom, so disguising the horizontal elements of the portal frames.
The reinforced concrete floor structure is visible on the ceiling of the workshop below the showroom; this also remains largely open-plan, but again has some modern subdivision to create office space.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.