Rick Mather Architects lead the refurbishment works for the Edwardian Grade II listed Old Technical College in East Ham to house a new Sixth Form for the London Borough of Newham. The building forms part of the larger East Ham Civic Campus and is the next phase of works to be completed following the Customer Service Centre & Library which opened to the public in March 2014. These projects form part of a wider masterplan for the Campus which gained planning and listed building consent in 2011.
The £13 million refurbishment restores the significant heritage features of the building while facilitating state of the art learning facilities for a new high achieving Sixth Form Centre. With a focus on math, science, and technology, the Old Technical College building houses science laboratories and classrooms for 500 students. Following refurbishment works, additional buildings within the East Ham Civic Centre will be used by the Sixth Form Centre for library, study, dining, tutorial and administrative uses.
London Borough of Newham
East Ham, UK
GIA - 2675 sqm
The Old Technical College was built in 1905 by Cheers & Smith as part of the East Ham Civic Campus. Previous demolition and development on the campus has left all four buildings equally exposed. Though the south and east elevations utilised cheaper materials, they maintain the red brick and terracotta aesthetic of the more elaborate north and west facades. The building was used as a Technical College for both boys and girls until the 1980's when the school was relocated to other parts of Newham. Newham council used the building as office and training facilities until these functions were relocated to their Dockside offices in 2009. The building remained empty and made it onto English Heritage's Buildings at Risk register when water ingress into the Main Hall destroyed some of the original features. Following the refurbishment, English Heritage have confirmed the building will now be removed from the 'At Risk' register, a huge success for the project team.
Rick Mather Architect's took a holistic approach to the refurbishment of the building. The existing features were carefully restored with new walls and the use of existing internal service chimneys providing hidden routes for new services. Many of the existing features of the original design have been retained and the new modern insertions seek to complement and highlight these, whilst ensuring functionality for users. Extensive areas of glazed tiles and bricks have been repaired and uncovered to restore the original diverse materiality of the building.
Part of the works included improvements to the accessibility of the building. Although previous works had included installation of an external ramp to bypass the external entrance stairs, the route was convoluted and circuitous. Rick Mather Architects introduced a new level entrance on the East Elevation, which provides direct access to a new lift which opens onto the half level entrance and all other floors. This entrance faces the newly completed Customer Service Centre + Library, encouraging engagement with the new public space created between these two buildings.
Externally the Old Technical College has been cleaned, re-pointed, with extensive brick and terracotta repair and replacement undertaken. External fire escape stairs on the south and east elevations were removed thanks to a revised internal escape strategy. A new roof was installed in the original slate material, re-using many of the materials on the internal sections of the roof. The 'moat' area has been rebuilt to introduce lighting, remove redundant services, and considerately incorporate those remaining. Ground level landscape works have been undertaken to discourage vehicular traffic and create a large new public space that centres on the large protected London Plane tree that sits between the new Customer Service Centre + Library and the refurbished Old Technical College.
The first year of students began using the building in early September 2014.