Centre of Refurbishment Excellence, Stoke

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Centre of Refurbishment Excellence (CORE), Stoke on Trent

Client: Stoke College

Estimation: £ 10million

This project required part new build and part refurbishment of the derelict grade II listed industrial 10th & 20th Century Enson works site which was formerly a pottery factory. The new build part which was a “hub” building. The project created a flexible space which can used for a number of different events, academic learning and people to network from the College and surrounding areas. The venue consists of over 1700m² of floor space, including a spacious café and roof terrace providing extra space for breaks, lunches and networking. The building provides vast exhibiting space where companies can launch and showcase products.

ABA Consulting provided full structural design details from conception to construction together with all associated drainage and external works.

Our work on these buildings demonstrates that we have the technical capability to successfully combine old and new. The new modern building “HUB 1” provides a landmark gateway entrance to the Campus and is sympathetic to the existing buildings, of which, we were employed as the Structural and Civil Engineers for many of these buildings on the campus. We also have extensive knowledge of the ground conditions and were responsible for the road network around these centres.


City of Stoke on Trent Council


John Paul Construction Limited


PRP Architects

Structural Engineer

ABA Consulting

We were appointed to deal with challenging issues such as the restrictions of the site and the structural condition of the Enson works. Large sections of these were derelict and unstable and had to be considered in the programming and planning of the project, as Stoke Colleges requirements were onerous in respect of the construction period. Having considered the constraints, including the safety of contractors working on the project, a phased approach was agreed.

The requirements for the project called for a split between the educational, demonstration and conference facilities. Due to the changes in level on the site and the requirements to keep visitors to the CoRE centre separate to the college, the building was laid out with vertical separation with the college workshops taking the ground floor of the Enson works. Due to the layout of the building there was insufficient space to achieve the required accommodation at first floor level. ABA designed a new mezzanine floor area above sections of the workshop and uprated existing roofs to act as an external restaurant terrace, whilst maintaining the existing support structure largely intact, though local strengthening was required. ABA in conjunction with other members of the design team examined a range of options for achieving the required space and the implications on the overall building shell were assessed to achieve a solution with the best balance between space, access and economy whilst maintaining the character of the centre.

CoRE was designed as an Exemplar Sustainable development, a “living demonstrator” showcasing different technologies and construction methods as well as optimising onsite energy performance. The facilities received an A-Rated EPC certificate and await a BREEAM excellent rating.

The project’s main conservation achievement was the introduction of multiple sustainable technologies into a listed building. Repairs to the Enson Works were like for like and interventions were designed to be as reversible as possible, with a minimal impact on the existing building fabric which ranges from Victorian brickwork to 20th century concrete and steel. The Victorian America Hotel was reinstated using new and original materials to its original design with retrofit sustainable technology added.

  • Awards Building Magazine Project of the Year (Finalist)
  • RIBA West Midlands Award
  • RIBA West idlands Sustainability Award
  • LABC Awards, Best Change of Use of an Existing Building or Conversion