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3D image of the new Skills Centre by Perkins Ogden Architects

Box clever: a new Future Skills Centre

A £4m investment in the Whitehill and Bordon Louisburg Barracks redevelopment area helps deliver the skills agenda in Hampshire

Posted by Stephanie Broad | February 12, 2016 | Bricks & mortar

Aligning with recent government initiatives, construction is about to start on a new Future Skills Centre for Hampshire County Council designed by Perkins Ogden Architects.

The new centre will be the first building within the proposed new Louisburg employment zone, and will mark the entry to the wider redevelopment area. It will offer a range of construction and other training facilities, as well as conference and similar amenities to serve the local community.

The Centre is being developed as the first phase of an ‘Excellence Campus’ vision, with possible future developments focused on enterprise and professional development. Hampshire County Council will own the facility, commissioning delivery providers and operators to provide a high skills, enterprise and professional development curriculum offer.

The regeneration of Whitehill and Bordon, following the release of 230 hectares of land by the Ministry of Defence, is a major development in Hampshire, with around 3,500 new homes and other facilities to be created. The Future Skills Centre is intended to support local people to access employment opportunities created during the construction phases of the regeneration, and, thereafter, the future skills needs of the local community and employers.

Project funding was secured via a capital allocation from the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership’s Local Growth Deal settlement. The lead organisation for the proposed investment is the Homes and Communities Agency, which has responsibility for the Louisburg Barracks redevelopment.

The building’s design, referencing Perkins Ogden’s recent multi-award winning CEMAST building for Fareham College, is a single-storey volume to best meet the essential requirement of flexibility in use and future adaptability. Due to the internal ceiling heights required for training workshops, the majority of the building is over 6m high, equivalent to a two-storey building.

The design adopts two distinct forms to reflect the building’s functions and to provide a clear identity and a strong public presence on the frontage to a newly created Relief Road:

  • A 4.5m high glazed Concourse forming a buffer to the Relief Road. This has a slender ‘floating’ roof line with wide overhangs supported on columns, many of which are positioned externally to provide an elegant layered and articulated facade. The glazed curtain wall has an open aspect onto the Relief Road and its roundabout junction, permitting good views to the outside and displaying the activities within
  • A 6.5m high Main Block and higher north-light roof forms incorporating teaching and office accommodation fronting onto the proposed access road to the West
  • Training workshops, forming the largest element, which provide clear internal heights of 4m for construction and other learning activities

The form of the building clearly expresses its component parts within a coherent whole, with a scale appropriate to its skills training functions and its site context.

Skills Centre concept elements diagram

The Future Skills Centre is programmed to be operational from early 2017, and is being delivered under the Intermediate Contractors Framework, managed by Hampshire County Council’s Property Services Team. Interserve have been appointed as the main contractor with Peter Marsh Consulting acting as client project manager. 

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