The Engine Shed
|The Engine Shed is Scotland’s dedicated building conservation centre, based in Stirling. Run by Historic Environment Scotland, it serves as a central hub for building and conservation professionals and the general public.|
The Engine Shed is a bit of a mystery. It was built sometime between 1896 and 1913, first appearing on the 1913 Ordnance Survey. Unfortunately, as a military building most of its history has been destroyed or lost. Stirling County Council were keen to see the Engine Shed brought back to life and offering something to local communities and beyond. In 2015, they sold it to Historic Environment Scotland for the bargain price of one pound.
The materials we used in the restoration of the Engine Shed were selected on the basis of three key criteria: sustainability, promoting traditional skills and materials and supporting locally-available materials and manufacturers.
The Engine Shed is a simple yet instantly recognisable building. It is single storey, approximately 11m high, 14m wide and 41m long, with sandstone walls, a slate roof and a clerestory lantern that runs the length of the building.
The high-level clerestory and the raised roof and uninterrupted metal windows give the Engine Shed its iconic shape and character, and we quickly developed a conservation strategy for the clerestory at the beginning of the renovation project. Hand cleaning took five hours per window, as they were cleaned to a SA2.5 standard by a specialist contractor.
We discovered that the stone the Engine Shed was built from came from two different quarries in North Lanarkshire. However, all the quarries in the area are now closed, which made it quite difficult to find suitable replacement stone.
Large sections of timber were needed for the frames of the two wings of the building. Glulam timber from European Larch was considered the best choice, manufactured from smaller, commercially-available timber sections. 100% of the larch glulam (about 50.03m3) was 100% PEFC certified. All the timber elements were sourced from well-managed forests and/or plantations.
Glulam timber was an energy efficient choice too, as achieving the same structural performance as the glulam in either concrete or steel would have significantly increased the energy cost. Glulam timber is also much lighter than other framing techniques, and resulted in savings in the foundations, construction and transport of the material.
The base of the columns is secured with 6no internally resin threaded rods, eliminating the visual aesthetic of fixings at low level. At high level the frames are connected with industrial galvanized bolts. There are a total of 95 Glulam members on the Engine Shed and 1640 bolts.
The building was designed to be responsive and adaptable, both now and in the future, and the use of a timber portal frame provided a very flexible building. No internal walls are load bearing and we are able to divide spaces within the building to meet all the different needs of our visitors.
By leaving the interior brickwork exposed, we are respecting the skill and materials that went into its construction. However, the gables have both been lined with a clay board, a composite material consisting of clay and lightweight aggregates, including reed matting, straw, hemp and jute fabric, whilst the laboratory walls were finished with clay paint. A base layer of clay plaster and a finishing coat of pigmented clay plaster skim were applied to the clay board.
The ceilings in the wings are made from heraboard, a sustainable material made mostly from wood, water and magnesite. The wood is sourced from sustainable Austrian forestry and the board is recyclable and has a lifespan of up to 80 years. These boards have an extremely low impact on the environment and their properties complement the clay board and plaster. By absorbing and reducing background noise and helping regulate humidity and climate, the materials in the ceilings improve visitor wellbeing, concentration, efficiency and performance.
An interesting approach to this historically-significant building. Excellent conservation practice is demonstrated through the use of traditional materials, technology and sustainability to demonstrate the adaption and reuse of a historic building for a new life. Careful consideration of the existing structure with a non-excessive insertion creates an interesting and contemporary space.
The Engine Shed demonstrates how new and traditional materials create not just an aesthetically pleasing environment to champion the crafts and skills required to complete this project but to showcase the applications of technical excellence in Architectural Technology. With sustainability at the heart of the design, the judges were unanimous in their decision that the project is the worthy winner of the 2018 Award for Excellence in Architectural Technology.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Conservation in action at the Engine Shed.
- Alterations and extension to The Grange.
- Architectural Technology Awards 2017.
- Architectural Technology Awards 2018.
- Architectural technologist - delineation of roles.
- Architectural technician.
- Architectural technologist.
- Old Gale Farm, Ambleside.
- Re-thatching a Hebridean blackhouse.
- Titanic Quarter.
How the current pandemic will shape historic urban areas and their surrounding communities across the globe is impossible to tell. Join us to reflect on the implications for our current approaches to caring for valued places, and even speculate on future strategies and responses.
The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has called on the government to urgently issue planning guidance to prevent unnecessary delays to development from the pandemic.
The Heritage Fund has put together a list of heritage-inspired activities to be done from home.
Spring is a good time to stand back and consider any building repairs that are required over the next 12 months, notes the LPOC, and regular inspection and maintenance is the key to keeping homes in good repair, as per its accessible step-by-step guidance.
Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service said “rapid and effective firefighting” had saved three quarters of the mill – which is now apartments.
Police have appealed for witnesses after thieves stole lead from the roof of All Saints Church in Halsham near Hedon during the coronavirus lockdown.
The regular newsletter showcases the IHBC’s own Continuing Professional Development (CPD) content as well as online opportunities from ‘IHBC Recognised CPD Providers’ and other conservation related training and events.
To make sure the public still has access to twelve of those famous works, #WrightVirtualVisits has been launched, which offers virtual tours of 12 iconic houses.
The Construction Industry Council’s (CIC’s) ‘CIC Coronavirus Digest – Issue 8’ surveys the latest government advice with updates from the construction industry.
Organisations with conservation links have been collating resources on COVID-19 impacts, including Built Environment Forum Scotland (BEFS), Historic Environment Forum, The Heritage Alliance (THA), and Historic England, on cleaning surfaces.
Councils are reported to be considering taking up rarely-used executive powers to keep the planning and development system moving during the coronavirus pandemic.
Historic England's 'After a Flood' provides timely advice on how to dry walls properly and avoid further damage to the building fabric.
Context Issue 162 offers a peek into an archive of timber conservation history through the records of the practice of FWB and Mary Charles Chartered Architects.
To meet the government’s target of being carbon neutral by 2050, we must recycle, reuse and responsibly adapt our existing historic buildings, according to this year’s Heritage Counts report, so Historic England and partners are calling for a reduction in VAT rates to incentivise this more sustainable option.