Waddington Architects, based in Jersey, have been in operation for 15 years and comprise 14 highly trained members of staff.
The firm are able to offer a fully integrated service for all projects as they act as architects, interior designers, and landscape architects. Premier Construction Channel Islands caught up with Mike Waddington, the Director and Owner of Waddington Architects, to find out more about the firm’s latest news.
The company were recently shortlisted as Regional Finalists in the 2014 UK Civic Trust Awards, and despite not getting any further; Le Coleron also won a 2013 Jersey Design Award. The two projects nominated were Le Coleron and Wesley Chapel; both schemes illustrate Waddington’s skills at transforming derelict sites into impressive modern day developments, whilst still retaining their heritage.
Mike Waddington said Le Coleron was a project with a fascinating history which was great to work on; he added:
“The site used to contain a guard house and a gunpowder store which the Island’s militia used to monitor potential Napoleonic invasions. When works began the site was essentially a pair of derelict granite buildings; one of which was in poor repair and the other a ruin, with only three walls and no roof. The site boasts impressive views of St Brelade’s Bay and beyond.
“We renovated both buildings and created an interconnected structure in frameless glass and zic cladding; this provided a really interesting residential development in a great setting, with amazing views. We also worked closely with our historic building officers and planning department to develop a suitable design approach.”
Waddington Architects were involved with Le Coleron for four years; the firm submitted a scheme which allowed the new structures to remain subservient to the historic frameworks. Waddington, working alongside Mitchell Building Contractors, were onsite for a year and encountered numerous challenging construction related problems during the project. Whilst trying to construct the buildings underground accommodation the team uncovered a granite outcrop, both above and below the ground which had to be mechanically broken out and excavated. The team managed to re-use the excavated granite as part of the reconstruction of the guard house and landscape works.
Mike said the team had a lot of challenges to overcome and being able to work through these issues and achieve something fabulous at the end was very rewarding. He added:
“We had to cut through almost seven metres of vertical rock to create the accommodation which was difficult, to say the least. We also had to sensitively renovate two important historic buildings and create something contemporary at the same time- which I think we achieved.”
The second nominated project in the awards was Wesley Chapel; a derelict classical Wesleyan Church which had fallen into disuse before being almost completely burnt down in an arson attack. The firm became involved in the project after the inferno and worked with developing contractors, Dandara, to save the main classical facade and integrate it with a modern apartment building and two flanking townhouse elements.
“Out of the ashes of the fire we created a modern apartment and townhouse residential scheme with a renovated classical facade that sat, as a centrepiece, in a new public square. The small courtyard is fantastic and boasts a colourful piece of public art.”
Mike said the project was not all plain sailing as it did pose a number of challenges that had to be overcome. Dandara’s excellent team installed an impressive restraining steel structure in a bid to hold up the existing facade. They also managed to renovate or faithfully replicate all the elements of the original classical portico so that it was faithfully restored. Creating undercroft parking at the rear of the site was also a difficult task along with numerous planning issues throughout the project.
“Both the projects that were nominated are very specific to Jersey and its very special ‘sense of place’. Le Coleron references our indigenous pink granite and the history of the island being faced by the challenges of invasion by the French. This project is really rooted in our history and in its renovation we managed to keeps its story alive.
“Wesley Chapel was an important piece of St Helier’s classical heritage, but now lives on as a mixture of the old and new, including a fantastic new public open space. The development creates a dignified setting for attractive urban living.”
Mike said Waddington Architects are primarily design led and client focused, and work tirelessly to find innovative approaches to every project they are involved in. He said the firm are very proud of their integrated design approach which enables them to integrate architectural, interior design and landscape services in one offer.
The team offers an attractive edge our competitors by concentrating their skills entirely in-house. Being locally based is a major strength as the company can react very quickly to site problems or design problems face-to-face. The team can also act as a one-stop-shop for clients, which cut down on potential interface problems, as well as providing a seamless service.
Waddington have built-up excellent relationships with Planning Officers and key Politicians involved in the Planning process, and have a proven track record in gaining planning consents for sensitive sites and challenging projects. They are also capable of working to tight deadlines and have a sound understanding of the commercial considerations behind all successful projects.