Esh Construction has spoken of its pride after seeing its pioneering work on Stirling’s new building conservation centre shortlisted for a prestigious award from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
The Livingston-based construction company, part of Esh Group, completed the ambitious £5.3million Engine Shed project last year for Historic Environment Scotland.
Designed by Historic Environment Scotland architects, the innovative building was recognised by the RICS as ranking among the most innovative projects in Scotland with the greatest impact on local communities.
Esh Construction transformed the former MOD munitions store into a world-leading education centre for building conservation, carefully integrating many sustainable design features throughout the process.
The Engine Shed combines traditional skills with cutting edge technology, using an augmented reality app alongside interactive handling boxes to help people explore their built heritage. Alongside this a range of technical courses offer CPD to professionals keen to enhance their conservation knowledge.
The company was pleased to hand over the completed building to Historic Environment Scotland last year prior to its official opening in June – and is now hoping it will receive further recognition from RICS a year on in the ‘Building Conservation’ category.
Esh Construction’s regional director for Scotland, Gerard McMahon, said: “We are very proud to have played a leading role in the re-birth of the historic Engine Shed, so it’s very gratifying for us that the project has now been singled out by the RICS from so many others that were identified across the country.
“The Engine Shed undoubtedly represents an exciting new chapter for the Scottish heritage sector and a world class architectural standout that we believe will serve to embody the important drive to maintain the country’s many traditional buildings.
“It’s a living, breathing tribute to the innovative, sustainable thinking that the project will engender, reinforcing the notion that modern science and technology can be shaped just as much by the past as the future.
“The integration of so many traditional and fresh ideas under one roof posed significant challenges for our team, but I’m pleased to say that we overcame them to everyone’s satisfaction.
“We hope that Historic Environment Scotland continues to maximise its vast potential as a true centre of learning.”
The original structure was sensitively adapted, demonstrating how traditional materials can be brought effectively into the 21st century, working side-by-side with modern technologies that have served to significantly enhance its energy efficiency.
These included 22 tonnes of salvaged stone sourced from the recently demolished Seaforth bridge, the re-use of 180 square metres of hardwood floor as wall cladding, 150 square metres of reclaimed oak boarding that now forms the Engine Shed’s new cutting edge lecture theatre, and efficient, durable zinc cladding for the roof.
Furthermore, 900 square metres of clay plaster were employed instead of a more traditional lime-based product, while 1,300 square metres of sheep’s wool insulation will help to conserve energy and naturally retain warmth that’s emitted from the building’s ground source heat pump and underfloor heating.
The RICS shortlist for its 2018 awards comprises 25 projects – chosen from 75 entries – ranging in value from £883,000 to £212m.
The winning schemes, expected to be announced at an Edinburgh awards dinner on 19 April, will be eligible for the National RICS Awards.
David Mitchell, director of conservation for Historic Environment Scotland, said: “The Engine Shed is a remarkable project which is fast becoming a remarkable centre for conservation excellence and education. The sustainable design and construction inherent to the building helps learners and visitors to see how modern techniques and salvaged materials can be ingeniously repurposed to help conservation efforts.
“We set out to think differently and to challenge perceptions with the Engine Shed. The hard work put in by our staff, our partners and our funders has meant that we have created a wonderful living classroom with science and technology at its core, demonstrating that innovation can be inspired by the past.
“We have also created a new home for some of our educators and scientists, giving the public a view as we work on cutting edge education and digital documentation programmes.”