Introduction About: How to go about approaching refurbishent projects for different types and generations of building
You know you’ve got work to do, you have looked at your existing building assets and you will know that they are either outdated, dysfunctional , broken, too small, You want to do something different - you’ve got an used dance studio and need a science lab,
To solve that the work that you do will be somewhere on the grey scale from refresh to re build
A number of factors will influence the decision that your particular project is in the middle area of remodelling or refurbish rather than re build - might be the more sustainable option , it might be due to a limited budget, or it might be that the particular building in question has historical importance, sometimes there is little choice because the building is listed but sometimes it is a building that particular importance to the identity or ethos of your particular organisation
And having decided that a refurbishment or remodel is the right way forward what are the key issues and do they vary for different generation buildings? I’d like to suggest that issues are the same whatever the age of building you are working with , the things you need to think about are the same, but the solutions may be different as I’ll demonstrate in some quick case studies But just to set the scene and look quickly at the key issues Knowledge: a variously attributed military maxim that applies equally well to re-modelling buildings. The biggest problem is that you don’t always know what you’ve got - you don’t need all of the detailed surveys at the early stages when looking at the major moves, such as which building to keep and which not, you can often use existing drawings, but it is worth spending time with existing building users, quizzing them As soon as the initial decisions have been made do as much survey work as you can find time for and afford, think about whether intrusive surveys are required and when they can be done without disruption. Commission asbestos surveys, but allow for finding more during construction. Think about what you need to know about the structure, spend time as a design team looking carefully at the building togther to try and understand where further information is essential, what can’t you see that you need to know about Understanding priorities Masterplanning Phasing Finally, Last but not least, whatever the age of the building - work with the strengths of the existing buiding, not against it, understand the strengths and how they fit the brief - explain more in case studies, important aspect of the first case study, remodelling Walthamstow school for Girls
Mentioned organisations where existing buildings are important to the identity and ethos, definitely case at Walthamstow where the Grade 2 listed Edwardian building and surrounding mature landscape, were very important to the ethos of the school
But the rest of the campus was a mix of buildings built up over the years in an adhoc fashion. . . .the site felt crowded with carparking and delivery bays muddled in with pedestrian routes around the site and no clear routes, difficult and time consumig to find your way around between buildings, with many hidden corners This and the poor condition of the 1960’s and 1980’s pre fab buildings and a 1930’s gym had lead to the need for work.
So it was easy to decide to replace these buildings, whereas the other major building on the site, a rather unsympathetic 1980’s 3 storey building was actually in reasonable condition and a very flexible plan framed building which lent itself to being easily adaptable to many different layouts so was retained. So with over a third of the campus needing replacing the next task was to go about deciding how the retained buildings would be re used
The Edwardian building,very typical of its era, has what are now considered undersized classrooms designed for static didactic teaching. Work with the strengths of the building - well daylit, generous height pleasant spaces but smaller than modern classrooms. Rather than start trying to move walls and create larger spaces look at how other spaces could be created or added nearby to add flexibility and allow a greater range of activties.
Working closely with staff we developed solution of locating english and languages staff in this building, the sorts of additional activities that they wanted to be able to do, that weren’t possible in the small classrooms were role play and project based work. So we developed a solution where the new drama room and an extra, un briefed drama room were added linked to the existing assembly hall which was also treated as extra space, these spaces were ro be shared by the drama and languages departments. . In this way, although we added unbriefed area, it was a more economic solution than trying to create larger rooms and making major adjustments within the Edwardian building Our design amined to link the campus togther at al levels, givong deiable access witout havong to insert a lift into the Edwardian building.
Whilst we needed to construct a large amount of new build was also important respect the scale of the listed Edwardian building which we achieved by taking advantage of a step in site levels to create a lower ground floor, allowing much of the new building to appear as two storey pavilions equivalent in scale to the Edwardian building.
the old Victorian classrooms were undersized but solidly built so in providing new internal circulation we made it large enough to accommodate break-out areas for ICT, quiet reading, resource etc which could be used in conjunction with the small classrooms. Decant / phasing?
AT Spring hill similar approach - a turn of thecentury building where the classrooms were light and bright pleasant spaces but undersized for modern primary level teaching.
The walls were loadbearing, similar to Walthamstow and ins the same way it didn’t make any sense to start to adjust spaces to try and make large classrooms, so we looked at what we could add to give the extra space and opportunity of ra wider rane of activities
Adding open, shared IT and learning resource bays and creating large openings through from the classrooms through to allow supervision meant that for the addition of minimal simply constructed space a huge range of activties became possible.
And we took the opportunity to create covered play areas
Child friendly space
And a fresh new look
The next project looks at the challenge of creating a coherent identity and facilities for a new research centre with a udget that allows for part refurbishment and extension of an existing 1950’s building.
The site, the corner of an existing 1950’s laboratory block
With a limited budget to provide a mix of research offices, general laboratories and Category 3 high spec pathogen containment laboratories all pulled togther in such a way as to attract international researchers and create opportunities for collaboration. So very much about creating an identity but also , because of constrained budget very much about using the existing buildings for most appropriate uses
So putting the highly serviced Category 3 laboratories in the areas od new build outside the existing building where the high levels of plan coud sit directly above But also about creating a focus of the centre around the existing stair, creating break out space also . .
Using a palette of colour mataerial and graphics that was pplied throughout to give the centre an identity within the campus
This type of approach can be cost effectivle applied to new and old areas and work well acroos wider campu’s to give a cofherent identity that unifies the whole
Key message - work with the sthrengths of the building - don’t fight it. Appropriate when looking at a Campus wide remodel as at Eastlea school
A large campus 1200 pupil secondary school been bought together over 150 years of school building in different era’s Buildings from every era ranging from an Victorian board school to 1990’a sports centre, some in extremely poor condition , requiring us to consider how best to spread a small imorvment budget across the campus
Buildings to be removed - easy decision - temporary buildings, fall over if not removed - not so easy when you have a full campus of 1960’s system build but when you have only one, you can be sure there are more robust buildings more easily refurbished on campus. Having removed these - looked at four main areas of work to create a new entrance, science more space, dining new space, art new space
The existing Victorian board school was already used for technology and the already opened out large spaces lend themselves well to specialist teaching so the refurbishment is fairly light touch - again working with the strengths of the building, loking for the most appropriate uses for the spaces. Alongside a fairly simple new dining and art block creates similarly large well lit spaces but with a simple language and palette as a foil to the elaborate language of the Board school
To create more space for science we are creating a slim extension to the current 1950’s science block taking advantage of framed construction to move walls around and create better shapes and sizes of laboratory around a shared ICT space
To create a new campus entrance we are taking advantage of a current neglected , underused undercroft using some infill and low cots lightweight screening and canopy . . . .
To create a new entrance that gives the campus fresh a new identity to the street
For the last project I ‘m going to show I really want ot underline that message of work with the strengths of the buiilding and look for those underused neglected spaces that could offer more
The Royal Veterinary College identified a need for a student café and for more informal, social learning space on their Camden Campus Hobday Building - big 1930’s, red brick, two courtyards
Which offered an opportnity Simple, easy win
Initially it was considered as a site for a café and we explored the creation of a prefabricated café building that would be craned into place over the rooftops But 50% of the cost of this initial solution was the cost of the crane, and we began to think that we might not be working with the strengths of this 1930’s building and that there might be a soltution that offered better value for money
Particularly when we looked at t he spaces around the courtyard
And the needs of those spaces - th intial need - for less formal café style dining than in the current refrectory - but what about some space for events with catering from the current refrectory kitchen
More informal reading space linked to the library
And space for the overcrowded museum to bring some of its extensive collection of skeletons out of storage and into areas where students could see them and use them as a learning resource
With these opportunities in mind we tested further design solutions concluding with the client team that option C where we worked with the buildings strengths, proposing a simple ETFE roof over the court, and inserting a library reading room pod independent of the surrounding walls offered much better value for money. Whilst the cost was higher than the original brief the cost per square meter was less and the opportunities offered far greater. With the advantage thet tha roofing over pf the courtyard functioned as an upgarde of all of its external envelope neatly meeting the requirements of the Biulding regulations for improving thermal performance when modifying or extending an existing building
Introduction About: How to go about approaching refurbishent projects for different types and generations of building
Rachel Shaw, architectureplb
Re build Re model Re furbish Re fresh Rachel Shaw Director
Knowledge, “time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted” • Appraising the existing buildings • Using the knowledge of building users; Students, Staff, FM staff • Surveys, the right surveys at the right time - programme them in, consider timing of intrusive and disruptive surveys Understanding priorities • The brief; soft and hard, aspirations and vision as well as facts and numbers. e.g. A new identity? Transformation? Or building on success? Is the existing building important to identity or ethos Masterplanning • Looking at long term development aims, planning for the future whilst addressing immediate needs. Phasing • Designing to allow continuing education during re-modelling. Avoid money spent on temporary accommodation which would be better spent on permanent transformation Working with the strengths of the existing building • Thinking outside the box to make the best of existing buildings that might not, at first glance, fit the brief Re model Re furbish
August 2008 options appraisal Preferred C £1.273m 505sqm £2,522/sqm C B A Stage B
Conclusions • Get to know the building inside out • Work with it, what ever it is, whatever age it is, the best solutions come from building on the strengths of the original building ……… . even if it was built in the 14th century for a totally different use Re model Re furbish