The sensitive refurbishment of the Grade II Listed ‘Galvanising Workshop’ created a new student hub for and gateway to the University of Kent’s facilities in the Chatham Dockyard. Carefully inserted into the historic fabric of the 1890 building, the accommodation comprises a visitor reception, a cafe for students and staff and a music/drama performance and rehearsal space.
Good conservation practice was followed in the design and construction of the project, an important guiding principle being that all interventions should be reversible without compromising the heritage value of the workshop. To this end, the new additions are made of materials in contrast with the existing brickwork and steelwork, while achieving continuity in the use of simple industrial finishes. The previous life of the building is expressed throughout by the retention and careful conservation of fixed items of workshop equipment.