UCA was originally built during the 1970s on the site of a 19th Century Fort overlooking the River Medway in Kent. The building is on a heavily sloped site and consists of 11 levels including numerous tiered roof terrace areas. This refurbishment project redesigned the interior spaces of the ground and the upper first floors of the building offering a continuous open space along the length of the building. A focal point for the entire campus which served numerous functions; expanded toilet provision, enhanced catering facilities, seminar rooms, large lecture theatres and a reconfigured main library.
The scope of works to be provided by BSD comprised the detailed design of the mechanical, electrical and public health systems associated with the works, including construction stage monitoring duties. However, as is often the case with a forty year old building, there were extremely limited information or records of existing services, either from or since the original installation. This not only made any ongoing maintenance difficult but without these records there was no starting point for the design of the refurbishment.
Before the design stage started, BSD specified, managed and oversaw detailed intrusive surveys of all the existing services by specialist M&E contractors, undertaken at nights and weekends whilst the college was in full occupation. From these surveys of the entire building, we were able to produce full record drawings and plant schedules. These were then used as the foundation of our design and to to create a set of, up to date, O&M manuals for the university.
The ground floor areas were completely reconfigured to provide a flexible learning and social environment that included formal lecture theatres, multi-use teaching and exhibition spaces, student breakout areas and a refectory, all in keeping with the existing building and values of an arts and design college.
The changes to the library floor have provided students and staff with contemporary learning environments that balance creative studio research activities with academic study, including spaces for combined library and student services (LSS).