This ambitious project provides a new Centre of Excellence for sail training and flexible events space for the local community. Our structural and M&E engineering consultants worked in close partnership with the client and architects to realise the award winning design against a challenging budget and a significant structural redesign.
The partially buried form of the Academy building was developed in response to the constraints of the site, in particular its relationship and access to the surrounding land and waterscape, and to the principle of form following function.
Our initial design comprised a concrete spanning slab supported off perimeter walls that could be formed to the required curves of the building. However, when the tender responses for this solution exceeded budget, we led a comprehensive redesign process that successfully delivered the scheme without significantly affecting the brief, vision or services strategy.
Through innovative structural changes we developed a far lighter steel frame. This reduced weight allowed a reassessment of the potential for pad foundations, and their subsequent adoption leading to further cost savings. The new structural frame was carefully set out to fit the curvature of the building and incorporated a tension rod system, to minimise the size of bracing, and transfer beams to reduce the need for supporting columns in the main hall.
The building has achieved a BREEAM Excellent rating through its use of sustainable technologies, such as local stone for the substantial gabion walls, timber and semi translucent cladding to provide natural light, and a servicing strategy that includes photovoltaic panels and biomass.
Winner of a Welsh Architecture Award (RSAW) and the Sustainability Award from the Institute of Civil Engineers, the new centre now hosts national and international sailing events. In its first year it attracted over 30,000 visitors and is proving a catalyst for local economic regeneration.