The Southampton Civic Centre is being renovated and redeveloped as an integral part of the creation of the city's new cultural quarter, which includes the existing Guildhall, library and art gallery. We worked on the transformation of the Grade II* listed former magistrate's courts and police headquarters building — and its new extension pavilion — to accommodate the Sea City Museum, which focuses on the maritime history of Southampton. The museum opens on the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic, which began its ill-fated journey from the city's port.
Working with architect Wilkinson Eyre, we provided structural, infrastructure and building services engineering for the refurbishment, conservation and new building works. We also contributed public realm design services and took on the role of CDM co-ordinator.
The existing building is a 1930s stone-clad steel frame structure. Its interior has undergone a significant opening-up works to create the open plan spaces required for the museum. The steel frame was found to have considerable corrosion, and extensive repairs to it, and to the stonework, have been undertaken. All alterations were approved by English Heritage.
Integral to the building's structure is the Civic Centre's 150ft high clock tower. The building and its tower relied on existing masonry partition walls for stability. Where necessary, new shear walls have been constructed. New glazed roofs have been installed over existing internal courtyards, along with new roof-level service areas.
Sea City is linked up to Southampton's District Energy Scheme heating and cooling networks, which are served by geothermal boreholes, CHP installations and absorption chillers. A dedicated air handling plant serves the new stone-clad steel portal frame extension, drawing fresh air into the building through an underground labyrinth. This modifies the temperature of incoming air in all seasons, minimising energy use. Maximum use is made of the local temperate climate by pre-cooling the building overnight, and by matching fresh air volumes to the number of visitors entering the building.