The University of Hull engaged WKP Architects and MCA Engineers to refurbish, modernise and enlarge their existing auditorium space for performances as well as their recording studios. Mason Clark Associates (MCA) have been pleased to work for the University of Hull since 1990.
The works included the reconfiguration of the main auditorium, creating a new accessible entrance, café, increasing toilet provision, new recording studios and new specialist installations including renewal of all M & E systems. During the design and tender process the building was listed which lead to a total redesign and division of the scheme into three phases to deliver critical elements of the scheme i.e. an initial demolition and strip out phase followed by refurbishment of a basement area to provide new recording studios prior to the main phase.
Regarding the Structural Engineering, a replacement of a substantial beam to the Proscenium opening was required to enable the widening of the original stage. This required substantial temporary propping and sectional replacement to facilitate installation. The original building was piled but care needed to be taken to ensure floor slabs were not overloaded during construction. The original building had some uncommon features which created some unusual load paths that needed careful consideration particularly during the demolition phase and temporary works. Regarding our Principal Designer duties, the building required additional care In relation to ensuring all demolition and temporary works were considered and appropriately checked. The scheme also brought about the need for detailed phasing plans to ensure segregation of the works from building users. This included ensuring some fire escape routes were maintained though live work areas. Regarding our engineering duties, we ensured drawings were clear and as easy as possible to understand together with convening regular site meetings during the construction stage to ensure the works were carried out correctly. The design of the sectional replacement of the proscenium beam involved detailed liaison with the contractor to agree the construction strategy and sequencing. Regarding our PD duties, we worked with the Architect and other designers on the project to proactively design out risks as far as practicable and clearly highlight any remaining risks and implement mitigation strategies accordingly.