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The Engine Shed is Scotland’s building conservation centre.

Created and managed by Historic Environment Scotland (HES), it promotes engagement with traditional buildings and educates people about the skills and materials required to build, conserve and maintain them.

Housed in a redundant MOD railway building with new wings, the project created a new sustainable building showcasing traditional craft and natural materials, with the aim of shifting the view of conservation and heritage from being something of the past, to something engaging, interesting, contemporary and fun. The objective for the building was to create a new and dynamic centre to bring together the HES' conservation experts in science, education and outreach, and to combine both a visitor attraction and a space for learning and engagement with the built heritage.

The ethos of railway and industrial buildings was taken as the starting point for the design, with the intention to keep the original shed as a single volume putting reception areas, offices, work spaces and ancillary accommodation into new wings.

We were initially appointed to support HES in defining the sustainable design criteria as part of their briefing process for the Engine Shed. To do this we led a workshop with key stakeholders to collaboratively identify and benchmark sustainability challenges and possibilities for the building and documented the targets within a bespoke Sustainability Matrix. The matrix set out the project's sustainability brief and aspirations, set against the industry's capabilities. HES used the Sustainability Matrix in the tendering process to convey the sustainability aspirations to bidding designers. The Sustainability Matrix, which had several elements in the ‘Pioneering’ range, was then used to aid the design development and decision-making process for the project.

Following the initial sustainability brief-setting, we were also appointed to provide M&E design services, alongside a new appointment for ongoing sustainability monitoring, two year aftercare and Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE). Historic Environment Scotland’s aim from the outset was for the project to be an exemplar in terms of sustainability: from design, through construction, to the operation and management of the building. We were also appointed as Soft Landings champion for the project.

Our environmental design includes a ground source heat pump and underfloor heating, allowing sensitive insertion into the existing building. The ground loop provides direct exchange cooling, with no refrigeration circuit, using 80% less electricity than an equivalent refrigeration based system.

Our acoustics input included integration of a lecture theatre pod within the larger volume of a workshop/exhibition space; the acoustic design balances flexibility with the provision of acoustic isolation of the lecture theatre from surrounding spaces. We have also advised on sound insulation and acoustic absorption for the various seminar spaces and workshops.

The Engine Shed opened for public use in 2017. Since opening, we have continued to be involved in the aftercare of the building, including monitoring and reporting on energy and building performance and overseeing fine tuning. We also completed an “as-built” Sustainability Matrix to show the client what has actually been achieved.

The Engine Shed was shortlisted for the 2018 Building Magazine 'Building Performance Award' and was awarded 'Soft Landings Project of the Year (up to £20m)' at the 2019 BSRIA Soft Landing Awards. Later it won 'Building Performance Champion' and 'Public Use Project of the Year' at the CIBSE Building Performance Awards 2020.

"We are all really proud of the building. We all talk about the sustainable features and we are very proud of it.” - HES Staff member

What people are saying about FOOTPRINT+

What people are saying about FOOTPRINT+

  • FOOTPRINT+ is the place to showcase how we can build sustainable developments and reduce the carbon footprint of building projects. In tackling the climate crisis, these are the conversations we need to be having.
    Peter Kyle
    MP for Hove, Shadow Minister for Justice
  • Despite the global impact of COVID-19 the UK property industry is resilient. FOOTPRINT will provide a forum for everyone to create a deliverable agenda for sustainable growth in the UK property market.
    Francis Hilton
    Pelican Developments
  • The construction sector has a huge role to play in enabling Local Authorities to meet ambitious carbon zero targets. I believe that FOOTPRINT will be the event that supports the creative discussions and working relationships required to achieve Zero Carbon living.
    Duncan Baker-Brown
    Architect, Lecturer at University of Brighton & Campaigner for Circular Economy
  • At last an event that addresses the key issues facing design, construction and development in the UK. The rich mix of consultants, clients, stakeholders and government together with the great location will make Footprint a huge success.
    Paul Monaghan Director of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris Architects
    Liverpool City Region Design Champion and founding member of Architects Declare
  • The idea of the jobs fair on the last day is brilliant. It's exactly what school and university leavers need, and as a CDO, I realise that finding high calibre candidates to work for your organisation is a hugely time absorbing process.
    Adam Brockley
    Founder of Scape Student Living
  • As we move to create the ‘new normal’ post Covid, we have an unprecedented opportunity to re-write the rules around our environmental impact on the planet, this conference does exactly that.
    Gavin Stewart
    Executive Director Brighton & Hove Economic Partnership
  • FOOTPRINT is a hugely exciting opportunity to address the climate emergency which we all face as global citizens.
    James Blakey
    Planning Director Moda Living
  • FOOTPRINT+ has been set up to answer a need in the property market. We have all traipsed off to the South of France previously to meet up and discuss property issues. This is no longer a responsible action given the carbon footprint of getting there. Combined with the exit of Britain from the EU, we, in the UK market need to meet and discuss our national and international concerns. FOOTPRINT+ is set up to permit us to do this in an accessible, affordable and responsible way
    William Edgerley
    Director Edge Ahead Limited