history re-made Built in 1839 as railway works, the site boasts the worldʼs oldest roundhouse. After 20 years of dereliction, the site has been rescued by Derby College to become a vocational college campus. Completed at a cost of £32.5m the scheme was a traditional contract completed on time and on budget. From a feasibility study commissioned in 2003, maber have seen the project through from inception to completion. Working with the Grade II* Listed buildings has been a very challenging but rewarding process. Two new buildings have been added to the site, the freestanding Stephenson building and the Kirtley building which connects the two ranges of Listed structures.
preparing the ground One of the hardest decisions in any conservation led project is the decision to take down parts of the existing structure. In the case of the Roundhouse project, three buildings were identified to be demolished: • the stores canopies - open timber roofs which had suffered serious rot and subsequent collapse; a later addition of little historical interest • the smithy - the remaining part of the oldest building on the site but altered and cut back beyond recognition and suffering from serious structural defects • the surgery - a 1950s lean-to addition which compromised the integrity of the adjacent carriage shop
the existing buildings The existing buildings have many large span open sheds which have matched perfectly the spatial demands of the college. This has ensured a sympathetic restoration and no subdivision of the principle spaces. The main entrance is a reinstatement of one of the two primary rail entrances for the turntable and brings students from the bus drop off and visitors arriving by car straight into the heart of the scheme; the roundhouse. Students and visitors arriving on foot are greeted at the gatehouse pavilion at the edge of the new plaza and roundabout which was constructed as part of the scheme and centred on the clocktower. This route is indicated by the grey arrows.
the new Stephenson building The freestanding new Stephenson building is an exciting addition to the campus. This building is passively ventilated and has impressively low energy consumption. Housing a range of vocational learning and a fully functional commercial hair and beauty salon, it is a highly flexible, modern place to study. Itʼs orientation on site both creates definition and a sense of enclosure for the courtyard as well as being careful to avoid obscuring the end gable of the Engine Shed when viewed from Pride Parkway.
site condition pre-start The site had been allowed to decay for a number of years and some buildings had suffered up to 20 years of neglect. Water ingress had caused major structural failures and dry rot. Roosting pigeons meant that the floors on most of the upper stories were covered in droppings and carcasses. Poorly conceived insertions and adaptations over 150 years had in some areas destroyed much of the original fabric and character of the buildings. A principle of “honest repair”; inspired by William Morris and his work founding the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings was adopted, meaning that repairs and new work was not disguised to appear original but intended to be legibly read as new. One of Morrisʼs other favourite maxims “let the old be old and the new be new” was a guiding principle wherever insertions and additions to the buildings were made. Working closely with the Conservation Officers and English Heritage, detailed plans for the restoration and development of the buildings were drawn up.
pride restored The best example of an early purpose built railway works is once again ready to receive visitors. The college welcomed students within a few months of practical completion and members of the public are now welcome to enjoy the ambience of the roundhouse once again too. Many opportunities have been taken to include interpretation and artworks in the completed building to help students and visitors alike make sense of the important place in railway history that the Derby Works have held. The new insertions and built elements are testament to the pioneering spirit of the early railway engineers and try to capture something of the excitement and cutting edge technologies that they were working with. It is a fitting testament to the achievements of the railway companies of the past that students and delegates from Rolls-Royce and Toyota will once again study engineering on this site, amongst many other vocational subjects. The adaptability which has been designed into this project will ensure that these buildings will stay relevant for many generations to come.
brief The Roundhouse campus i s a £43m development that will breathe new life into a historic industrial site, forming a new flagship vocational skills centre for Derby College. Already being cited by English Heritage as an exemplar project!, the Grade II* Listed former railway works built in 1839 includes the world's oldest roundhouse. The existing buildings have been restored, inhabited and extended with a series of exciting new contemporary insertions to form training workshops, classrooms, learning resources and support areas. The collegeʼs brief required a series of connected large, open spaces for much of the vocational learning delivery and this fitted very well to the existing buildings. This meant that there has been no subdivision of the principle spaces - retaining their character and historic integrity. Where limited smaller spaces have been required, the architects, maber, have developed a pod product specifically for this project that provides a freestanding classroom with no detriment to the surrounding fabric. These pods have performed well and fulfil a number of criteria including acoustic and thermal insulation, as well as providing splashes of string and vibrant colour in a controlled way to enliven the large railway sheds. The site was developed in 1839 by four rival railway companies, including the North Midland Railway for whom George and Robert Stephenson were engineers. Robert was responsible for the engineering of the NMR buildings on the site, including the roundhouse, which were built for the sum of £62,000. The short, 12m turntable in the roundhouse quickly fell out of use by locomotives as rolling stock increased in size. For much of the last century the majority of the buildings have been used as stores. The roundhouse, or roundshed, became a crane repair workshop.
honest repair For the last twenty years the buildings have been abandoned and over this period they fell into an appalling state of disrepair. Major structural problems developed due to water ingress and a significant proportion of roof and floor timbers had failed. Core samples from every piece of structural timber on the site were analysed to assess bearing capacity, water damage and species. This allowed a very detailed program of repairs which have been aimed at conserving as much of the original material as possible. A concept of “honest repair”, adapted from William Morris, has guided the choices made in repairing the original structure. This values the clear distinction between the new and old; careful to allow the observer to distinguish between the two. The masonry problems on site included failed brick and stone work. Cleaning strategies were painstakingly developed and many sample areas tested before the work was carried out. Rebuilding, replacing and repointing in a suitable gauged lime mortar has ensured that the masonry will survive for many years to come. funding Key to the success of the scheme has been the excellent working relationship with the major funders, including the Heritage Lottery Fund, EMDA, ERDF and the LSC. Co-ordinating the priorities and objectives of so many funding bodies has required rigorous understanding of their expected outcomes, drawn down mechanisms and most importantly demanded getting to know the personalities involved. interpretation The rich history of the site, itʼs manufacture of steam locomotives and rolling stock, along with the personalities involved with the site including the Stephensons and Matthew Kirtley, has demanded a high level of interpretation and presentation of the past in the finished scheme. The college are not experienced museum curators and rather than present this information in a traditional format, it has been woven into the very fabric of the scheme. Wall sized supergraphics up to three storeys high show notable figures in contemporary graphic techniques with explanatory text to accompany them. Iconic images and experiences of the steam age are represented on glass, through colour palettes and in the details of the new elements of the scheme. Overarching concepts, such as the movement through space, the passage of time and the pioneering engineering spirit of the siteʼs founders are represented throughout the new and old buildings. The building project was delivered on time and on budget (construction value £32.5m; project value £43m), following a traditional procurement route and was completed in July 2009.
responsible stewardship Derby College have an enviable track record promoting and practicing sustainability and reducing the energy costs associated with their operation. They were recently rated by the LSC as the fifth highest performing college in the country for their environmental performance; no mean feat for one of the countryʼs largest FE providers. Therefore, sustainability was a key concern from the start of the project. brownfield site The site was originally developed in 1839 as a green field site, but from that point onwards it was in continuous industrial use until the late 1980ʼs. The restoration and retention of the majority of the buildings on site has contributed significantly to reducing the embodied energy of the development as well as providing other tangible environment benefits: • the contamination levels on site have been measured, and appropriate compensatory measures have been taken; contaminated material has been removed from the site and monitoring carried out • a concentration of vermin (pigeons and rodents) found on site have been removed and denied further access to roosting by the the collegeʼs staff flying birdʼs of prey regularly • the social blight of the abandoned buildings, which attracted graffiti, vandalism, break ins and travellers, has been removed by redevelopment • the restored buildings form a fitting gateway to the city from the railway station, rather than being an eyesore • increased footfall to and from the site has increased pedestrian safety on paths back to the city centre by increasing the volume of pedestrian traffic; rather than being an abandoned wasteland, the site is now a vibrant partner in the streetscape • some specific toxic hazards have been removed from site and treated including stored oils and sulphuric acid, lead paint, asbestos and other industrial chemicals and hydrocarbons
passive measures The scheme has been carefully designed to optimise opportunities for passive design features to contribute to reducing energy consumption. • passive solar; louvres or deep (7m) roof overhangs to south, east and west facing glazing on new buildings reduce the chance of overheating which reduces the energy for cooling • passive ventilation; the entire Stephenson building enjoys passive ventilation: air passes through the façade and is extracted from the central street through stacks. The only exception to this are some areas that require specialist spot extract (gas assessment centre, dark room etc.) • insulation; the new buildings enjoy a high level of thermal insulation. Opportunities to install insulation in the Listed buildings have been limited but roofs have been insulated in all cases and free standing classroom pods overcome the need for increasing the thermal performance of the original cast iron windows by providing a thermally independent learning environment in board of the external walls. • glazing; secondary glazing could not be fitted to the cast iron windows, but insulation in those areas is generally achieved by using the classroom pods. However, secondary glazing was fitted to all of the timber sash windows to the existing offices (Francis Thompson building) • good natural daylight; all classrooms enjoy a high level of natural daylight to reduce the need for artificial lighting • re-use of materials; wherever elements have been removed or demolished, materials have been carefully set aside, reclaimed and reused on site. All of the standard bricks used in the masonry repairs were reclaimed from the demolition of the smithy. Natural stone was won from site, reworked and reused. Where this was not possible, reclaimed material was imported to site (e.g. roof slates) to reduce the embodied energy of the buildings • careful specification of new materials; chains of custody for timber, Green Guide A rated products and a local supply chain wherever possible contributed to responsible sourcing and low embodied energy in the new materials used
active measures Using new technologies has contributed the college achieving a high degree of responsible environmental stewardship. These include: • low flow aerated tap heads • high efficiency modulating gas boilers • VRV systems where mechanical ventilation has been required so that waste heat can be moved around the building to benefit other areas • highly effective controls scheme including passive IR for lighting and CO2 detection for ventilation • low energy lighting • grey water harvesting and re-use for nonpotable water demand • no student parking provided on site to encourage green transport supported by extended college bus scheme (transport plan commits to annual monitoring)
access for all A Listed building is often an inherently hostile environment to those with limited mobility or other disabilities. The provision of a fully inclusive environment has been a design priority from the inception of the scheme and it is a fitting testament that this has been achieved, despite the constraints of the historic fabric. Level thresholds, lift access to all rooms and stories and a colour and signage scheme that provides easy navigation for the partially and non-sighted have all been achieved Only one room has been unable to be adapted to provide full level access, and in this workshop the college have undertaken to ensure that the facilities available to learners on both sides of the room will be identical and thereby not deny any student access to learning. • accessibility to the site was carefully considered too, with pedestrian access routes at each corner, minimising travel distances • a new public footpath and cycleway linking Roundhouse Road to Pride Parkway has been built, improving sustainable and accessible travel links • raised lawns are wheel chair accessible to allow every learner to access the landscaped areas • disabled parking spaces for students and staff are located suitably close to their respective entrances • a compound for guide dogs has been built which provides for exercise, feeding, drinking and latrine requirements • raised kerbs at the bus stops reduce the step up or down onto the college busses • textured pavement informs partial or nonsighted users of changes in surface or vehicular priority • loop systems at key points (lecture rooms, reception desks etc) provide for hearing impaired users • disabled shower rooms with changing facilities and hoists have been provided • the college operate a network of additional learning support assistants who will work with learners and attend lessons to provide note taking, sign language or interpretation - broadening participation • the specialist LINKS department, located in the Stephenson Building caters for students with disabilities or learning difficulties that require a higher degree of care and assistance • signage is generally pictograms, raised and textured where accessible, to allow non- English speaking building users simple and intuitive navigation.