The Richmond Building has been transformed from a tired 1960s steel and concrete structure into a multi-use University building, still home to the Student Union, but also to cultural, performance, teaching, study and social functions.
Over the past 50 years, a series of ad-hoc changes to the interior has made the spaces cluttered and inflexible. Asbestos was present throughout the building, the fabric leaked energy resulting in extremely high running costs and neighbours found the building ugly, noisy and incongruous in the Clifton Conservation Area. Our task was to make the Richmond Building welcoming, accessible, environmentally efficient and spatially hard-working.
During a four-phased construction programme, throughout which the building remained open, an ‘excavation’ of the interior took place. The concrete soffit was exposed, redundant services were stripped out and renewed and the layout reconfigured to create flexible spaces that could be used throughout the day and into the evening. A foyer extension added much-needed clarity to the entrance, both inside and out, and provided space for new changing facilities for the swimming pool.
The combination of re-using the existing building and radically improving how it operates has resulted in a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating and, importantly, helped to meet the University’s exacting sustainability targets.