Practical completion at the Aldingbourne Centre

The Aldingbourne Trust is a West Sussex based charity that provides support and opportunities for people with learning disabilities, their families and carers. The Trust’s Country Centre in Chichester includes a café, farm, plant centre and furniture restoration centre. As a result of a successful government grant application, the trustees were able to commission the design of a new visitor centre building to improve the facilities and help accommodate the large number of people that use the centre. The new building provides much needed meeting space, a new café, state of the art conference facilities and a shop as well as a fantastic spiral slide to transport staff and visitors from first floor to the ground floor reception area.

In 2015, after a successful interview CampbellReith was appointed as transportation, geotechnical/ geo -environmental, civil and structural engineers for the scheme. This was a particularly exciting commission for the team due to the intricate design of the building which includes over 40,000 timber shingle cladding tiles, irregular roofs, large areas of glazing and numerous column free internal spaces. This presented a huge challenge to the team in relation to designing efficient engineered solutions within a very tight budget.

The hybrid insitu concrete/steel framed superstructure and vaulted roofs work in conjunction with the building’s heating and cooling systems to provide comfortable spaces throughout the year. On the day of Practical Completion the air temperature outside was approximately 30°C and the building performed well, providing cool, light areas throughout.

A new car park forms part of the overall scheme and this had to be designed to include sustainable drainage systems (SuDS). The team provided a highly sustainable solution including porous paving, sub-base storage and soakaways to avoid any surface water run-off from the 120 space car park and new building.

The official opening is anticipated in September when a bespoke piece of artwork will be unveiled. This will include a memorial to our late associate Steve Archer who helped us win the scheme and who was heavily involved in the successful design and delivery of our services.