31 May 2019
submitted by Artelia
*** HIGHLY COMMENDED *** The Fitted Rigging House, The Historic Dockyard Chatham - submitted by Artelia
The Fitted Rigging House is one of a series of remarkable naval-industrial buildings constructed at Chatham Historic Dockyard in the late 18th century. It was one of the largest brick buildings in the world when it was built in 1793 and was used to lay rigging and as a dry store for ropes. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, Grade 1 listed and sited in the Chatham Historic Dockyard Conservation Area. The building was previously described as “vulnerable” by Historic England and with an internal area of around 9,000sqm, which was largely empty, it was an ongoing maintenance liability to Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust’s (CHDT).
A scheme was devised to repair and repurpose the building, creating new rental spaces for commercial tenancy on the upper floors. The remaining spaces would be used to accommodate the Trust’s offices (freeing up space for the University of Kent to expand into its current location) and providing a Volunteer Centre of Excellence to greatly improve on-site facilities for the Dockyard’s army of 300 volunteers. The project also enables the Dockyard’s nationally important archive collection to be rehoused in appropriate conditions and made fully accessible to visitors.
This project was to repair and re-purpose the building for commercial tenancy and has not only conserved this valuable asset for future generations but generated enough revenue to enable the Trust to become self-financing for the first time since it took over the Dockyard in 1984. The £8.2M project was made possible through a successful application to the HLF Enterprise Fund, receiving a £4.8M grant, £1.5m funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, additional funding from other Charitable Foundations and fundraising. The additional revenue created brings CHDT’s long-held ambition of being financially sustainable on a revenue basis to fruition.
The considered design demonstrates how a historic building can be sensitively repurposed, with minimal alteration, to support digital age business use.
Trust and relationships are key: Artelia and the professional team had all worked previously with CHDT on the award-winning Command of the Oceans project. The ongoing relationships and the understanding of CHDT and Historic England’s exact requirements for the site resulted in the smooth flow of information between all parties, collaborative problem solving and fewer design iterations. This partnership has resulted in innovative and better design solutions for the repurposing of the building with a satisfied customer.
For more details: