National Museum of the Royal Navy

Sensitively enriching a building accessible to all

The Project

Storehouse 10 at the historic naval dockyard in Portsmouth was constructed in the mid-eighteenth century, during an upsurge in naval building prompted by events such as the Seven Years War. It was originally used to store everyday supplies for working ships plus some naval items.

During the Second World War, Storehouse 10 was hit by an incendiary bomb, which destroyed the clock tower and most of the roof and upper floors. More extensive damage was prevented due to a strenuous firefighting effort to save the radar sets within, which were to be some of the first installed in Royal Navy ships.

Restoration of Storehouse 10 was gradual and was eventually completed in 1992. It has now been converted to form part of the National Museum for the Royal Navy complex. 


The Approach

Oculus were pleased to have provided the building control services for recent works providing a glazed link to Storehouse 11 and expanding ground floor exhibition space. The project aimed to enrich the visitor experience of the history of the Royal Navy and our maritime past, enhancing the existing building without compromising the historic fabric or setting. The architects, Purcell, retained all the important features of this large, robust listed structure which now comfortably accommodates a superb range of exhibits, displays and interactive experiences. Oculus worked closely with Purcell and Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service to agree solutions to challenging fire safety issues. Modern fire safety features were discretely installed without impacting on the appearance of the historic interior.  Access was also improved to ensure the experience could be enjoyed universally by all visitors.


CASE STUDY
Astley Castle

A 12th-century fortified manor which had been lying in ruins since a fire in 1978, Astley Castle had seen additions and revisions carried out in almost every century since Medieval times. Throughout its history the site has been owned by no less than three Queens of England.

The Landmark Trust boldly set out to reinstate occupancy of Astley Castle in a manner appropriate for the 21st century.  After careful recording, those parts of the building beyond pragmatic repair were taken down.  By inserting a groundbreaking modern holiday home into the shell of the ancient castle, the architects, Witherford Watson Mann, were able to both stabilise the ruin and create the next layer of the building’s history.  The results showcase how modern architecture can be unashamedly but sympathetically stitched into ancient fabric to significant effect.

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CASE STUDY
The Gainsborough Bath Spa

The Gainsborough building situated in the heart of Bath was formerly part of the City of Bath College. A Grade II listed building from the Georgian period designed by John Pinch the Elder. The conversion to a 5* luxury hotel presented many challenges. The new multi-storey Lower Borough Walls wing reflects the host building architecturally. In the heart of the hotel lies Spa Village Bath, which is quite unique insofar as it has access to the natural thermal mineral-rich waters, making it the only natural thermal spa inside a hotel in the UK.

The main stair protection was particularly challenging as enclosing it was not an option from a conservation perspective. A solution of discreetly placed fire curtains operating on the fire alarm system to provide protection was developed. There are also isolated areas with sprinkler protection to provide an alternative to passive fire protection.

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CASE STUDY
Carlton Club, London

Following a fire risk assessment on the club, Oculus was brought in to find suitable solutions for fire safety works required in the significant findings of the report. With the club being a listed building any works would need to have minimal impact on the historic fabric and disruption to the guest accommodation in the Club kept to a minimum. 

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