College Gardens – £38m transformation of island icon
College Gardens is an exceptional and prestigious £38 m re-development project to create one, two, three and four-bedroom apartments complete with allocated parking, extensive private landscaped gardens and a gym for residents, on the site of one of Jersey’s most iconic buildings – the former Jersey College for Girls at La Pouquelaye.
The project, located near the centre of St Helier, is being carried out for the Jersey Development Company (JDC), with ROK-Regal as main contractors, Henderson Green Partnership as mechanical and electrical engineers, Waddington Architects as project architects and Hartigans as structural engineers.
Formed in 2014, headed by Robert Matthews, having successfully constructed the prestigious States of Jersey Police Head Quarters, ROK-Regal is forging ahead, sympathetically renovating the iconic Jersey Girls College, including five additional blocks of new apartments, a total of 187 apartments.
The college was at the forefront of women’s education in the late 19th century and was one of only a handful of schools to prepare girls for university examinations.
Instantly recognisable, the grand classical proportions of the Ladies’ College were designed by local architect Adolphus Curry in 1887.
A centre of excellence for learning, the Jersey Ladies’ College building was set in extensive landscaped grounds, overlooking a large formal lawn where tennis was played. A Greek-style theatre was built in the 1930s.
Original features like the mahogany staircases, which were part of the building’s character, are being restored to life by the new development.
The much-loved Nightingale House, an imposing iconic Victorian listed building which was home to thousands of college pupils from 1888 until 1999, is being renovated throughout and includes two, three and four bedroom units.
The five brand new blocks are being built behind Nightingale House and each of the new residence blocks will be named after the former JCG ‘House’ names; Austen-Bartlett, Cavell, Curie-Fry, Garrett-Anderson and Inglis.
Many of the purchasers have bought into the community-feel of the site and it’s anticipated it will create a real sense of community spirit for the residents. A broad range of people have bought units, with most being owner-occupiers ranging from former pupils, young professionals and those wishing to down-size.
The first phase of the development is due for completion in March 2018 and full completion will be Spring 2019.
The development has had significant interest for its sympathetic design and unique setting, with 95% of the scheme already secured by purchasers.
Robert Matthews, CEO of ROK commented: “We are obviously delighted to be involved with this prestigious project and a landmark building which played an important part of Jersey life for many decades. We are employing a significant amount of local contractors to undertake the project which will benefit the island’s economy, including a wide range of employment opportunities from site management to trade operatives and apprentices.”
Waddington Architects are one of the largest firms of architects, interior designers and landscape architects based in Jersey, providing award-winning, design-led but client-focused professional services across all sectors. Waddington Architects can offer clients an unparalleled service that integrates architecture, 3-D computer modelling, interior design and landscape architecture, from initial concept through to the finished product.
Mike Waddington, Waddington Architects, said:
“At Waddington Architects, we offer an attractive edge over our competitors by concentrating our skills entirely in-house as integrated design. As a result, the buildings, interiors and landscapes we produce are even better.”
Formed in 1998, Waddington Architects has evolved into one of the largest firms of architects, interior designers and landscape architects based in Jersey. The firm has a proven track record in delivering large and small scale projects in the Channel Islands, the UK and beyond.
Recent projects include a new affordable homes development at Belle Vue, Les Quennevais, Jersey for Andium Homes; the interiors for Royal Bank of Canada at their new headquarters at 68-72 The Esplanade, Jersey; and the new memorial Gardens at St Lawrence Church for the Parish of St Lawrence. Most recently, Waddington Architects has been involved on the College Gardens project, in the capacity of architect, lead consultant and landscape architect.
“We are very excited about this project because in working with the Jersey Development Company and ROK Contractors, we are able to rescue an important historic building from dereliction and decay, and also create much-needed contemporary new homes in a tranquil, walled-garden setting right in the middle of St Helier.”
“We are happy to work within the design team in any way, and see ourselves as helpful problem-solvers. If required we can offer a one-stop-shop which cuts down on potential interface problems and provides a more seamless service. The combined workforce is experienced at working in either discipline, which allows us to respond to tight timescales better than our competitors.
“We have a proven track record in gaining planning consents for sensitive or controversial projects by an understanding of relevant States policies and good design but, importantly, we also understand the commercial reality that surrounds most projects whether large or small. In this respect we are realistic about our role, and prepared to work with clients and developers to achieve the required design in the most practical and cost-effective way.”
Benchmark is comprised of two elements: the design, off-site manufacture, and supply to site of timber frame building structure components and installation, plus general carpentry and building services. Benchmark Design has been in operation for two years and is staffed with experienced designers, factory floor personnel, and carpenters, many with over 20 years working specifically in the timber frame & building industry.
Benchmark provides product & services to a wide range of clients, including major island contractors, professional developers, small builders, and private individuals. Projects include large scale housing developments, multi-million pound architecturally bespoke dwellings and house extensions.
Most recently, Benchmark has been involved with the College Gardens project. Working on this scheme, Benchmark was responsible for the design, manufacture and fit-out of all structural timber elements.
The new build elements require open web flat roof joists designed for exact positioning of mechanical service ducts. The old building requires bespoke sizing of new open web floor joists, internal structural panels, and a soft wood cut roof, as well as the provision of a terrace of timber frame town houses adjoining the rear of the old building.
Francis Young, Benchmark, said:
“College Gardens is a prestigious and challenging project that Benchmark, being a recently established company, is proud to work on alongside ROK.”
“Being solely a Jersey based operation enables Benchmark to provide a fast, flexible, cost effective, but accurate solution to all our customers & their projects.”