A £3 million redevelopment project is currently underway in Chatham to create state-of-the-art facilities for the University of Kent.
The project comprises the refurbishment of five existing buildings at Chatham Historic Dockyards: the Smithery Building, Central Boiler House, Engineering Workshop, Fire Station and the Foundary. Once complete, the new developments will house a number of departments for the University including Fine Art, Music & Audio, Performing Arts and Event & Design.
ISG Plc is the main contractor on the redevelopment project and historic building consultants Purcell UK are the architects. The mechanical and electrical consultant is Chapman Bathurst, The Morton Partnership is the structural consultant and Appleyards are the education consultants on the site.
As the Smithery, the Foundary and the Engineering Workshop are Scheduled Ancient Monuments, English Heritage has to be notified of any changes to the original agreed design throughout each stage of the redevelopment. Prior to work taking place on the site, ISG Plc previously completed work on No.1 Smithery – a maritime museum also located at Chatham Historic Dockyard.
ISG Plc Regional Managing Director, Stuart Deverill, said:
“The success of the No.1 Smithery project at The Historic Dockyard Chatham has inevitably played a major role in helping ISG to secure this important development for the University of Kent.
“We are working closely with key stakeholders from the University, Dockyard and conservation organisations to deliver an outstanding project that creates state-of-the-art facilities within a preserved historical context.”
Work began on the project in June 2011. Redevelopment of The Smithery and the Boiler House are now complete, whilst work on the Foundary is scheduled to reach completion in August 2012. Design work is currently being conducted on the Engineering Workshop and the first floor of the Fire Station.
Under the redevelopment, the Smithery Building and the Central Boiler House have been transformed into fine arts studios, which provide students with both a practical work space and an exhibition centre. In addition the Central Boiler House also houses a selection of high-tech machinery including spray booths, a wood working machine shop, a metal and plaster casting room and a kiln.
Additional work on the Smithery Building and the Boiler House also included the installation of new mezzanine levels and staircases. The roof was also replaced on the Boiler House, whilst an extension was built in the courtyard.
At present the Foundary and the Firestation are being transformed into high-spec recording studios. The Foundary will house the Music & Audio department, whilst the Fire Station will include a film making studio, a listening room and a rehearsal space.
Due to the acoustic criteria of the facilities, the inner walls of each building are being built from 140mm of block whilst the outer walls will comprise 190mm of block. Insulation will be placed between the inner and outer walls and each studio will be capped with a plaster board lid.
Roof slates are being renewed on both the Fire Station and the Foundary, whilst windows are also being refurbished. To maintain the acoustics of the building, the windows will not have a practical function and will be sealed and decorated from the outside.
Some minor landscaping work is also taking place on the site, with the majority of the work being conducted to level and resurface the exterior of each building.
To complete the redevelopment project at The Historic Dockyard Chatham, the Engineering Workshop will be transformed into a fine arts and photography studio. During this stage of works a number of structural alterations will be conducted to open up the interior of the building and a brand new roof measuring 600 m² will be installed.
Prior to work taking place on the site, all of the buildings were vacated. However, a number of temporary spaces were provided for students in order to allow them to continue their work.
ISG Plc Surveyor, Joseph Mansi, said:
“This latest project for University of Kent is very important to ISG Plc and builds upon the work we have previously undertaken at The Historic Dockyard Chatham. The University of Kent is a fantastic client to be associated with and we aim to complete this work to the highest standards.”
The University of Kent School of Arts project is due for completion in October 2012.