Blackrock Quarry Training Centre
Galliford Try/Avon and Somerset Police
- Spaces Innovation Category Award Winner, 2017
- Civic Trust Award Winner, 2017
- RIBA Award South West Region Winner, 2016
- RICS Award Design through Innovation Winner, 2016
Designing a substantial (5,800m2) police training facility that blends seamlessly into the base of a wonderful disused quarry was a unique challenge that required an unusual approach – perceiving the building as an integrated part of the landscape. The brief was made even more challenging due to the site having significant habitat issues. The presence of nesting Peregrine falcons meant that the design and construction had to be phased around the nesting season to avoid disturbance.
The building emerges as an irregular form echoing the geometry of the quarry workings. To further blend with the quarry walls, the exposed elevations of the building are faced in hand-filled angled stone gabions.
The building is covered with a bio-diverse roof that over time will let the building merge with the adjacent rugged landscape.
Underneath, a structural solution provides the necessary ballistic protection as well as acoustic insulation to protect the local wildlife.
We developed the specialist facilities in close consultation with numerous departments of the Avon & Somerset Police force – from the management team to the day-to-day end users, in order to ensure that the building met their very specific needs and wishes.
Due to the very specific Home Office requirements for the performance of the building, We were tasked with finding solutions to some very challenging issues. One of these challenges was how to meet the very large ventilation demands of the firing ranges.
The slatted timber soffit over the main entrance not only announces it but also serves as a large plenum, drawing air into the plant room adjacent and then down into the ranges.
The training facilities are designed to be simple, practical, safe, secure and robust whilst the front of house and admin spaces have richer palette of materials and a more refined aesthetic.
The result of the consultation and the unusual design approach is a simple and elegant building that complements the natural beauty of the quarry, incorporating car parking and extensive landscape habitat, whilst providing highly specialist visitor and training facilities.
Photographs by Simon Kennedy.