The restored Winter Gardens Pavilion is an iconic seafront venue for conferences, ceremonies and events, including smaller conference and meeting rooms. Designed in 1924 and first opened in 1927, the Pavilion features a neo-Georgian ballroom with dome and a rear 1980s extension, now fully refurbished into a modern two-storey educational centre with double-height reception space, housing Weston College’s new Law and Professional Services Academy and The Florentine bistro. Facing the seafront is Lasseter’s, a two-storey fine dining restaurant with a seafront patio area surrounded by glass screens.
This BREEAM Very Good project included demolition, refurbishment, reconfiguration and extension works, on a challenging location in the centre of town. Works included refurbishment of the ballroom; reconfiguration and refurbishment of the 1980s extension; and demolition and reconstruction of the rear section to create a two-storey entrance. Midas modernised the Pavilion, improving natural ventilation and daylight and retaining design sympathetic to the building’s heritage.
The project captured the interest of local groups and historical preservation societies, who went on to form a Local Steering Group with the aim of ensuring the College and Council respected the Pavilion’s status as a building of local significance.
- The Pavilion is a designated building of local significance with strict planning approval controls.
- Designed in 1924 and opened in 1927, the Pavilion and ballroom were past their maximum lifespan expectancy.
- Seafront site exposed to gale force winds and extreme weather.
- Restricted town centre site with limited drop off, stopping or unloading areas and confined external space.
- The client had limited funds at the commencement of works, with their original budget being £1.8m less than the cost for the scope of works they preferred
How these were delivered
- Midas worked closely with the local authority’s planning department to agree planning approval for the design and materials, including replacement of the Pavilion’s large, curved ballroom windows. The local authority considered the windows to be an iconic part of the building; however, the timber frames had rotted through. Midas agreed their replacement with aluminium frames, sympathetically designed to be as similar as possible to the original frames whilst providing the required weather protection and security. Redesigning and retendering the windows saved £32,000 and achieved a solution accepted by the local planners.
- Midas worked with a specialist restoration company to restore the ballroom dome. Midas designed a bespoke mesh retention system, which is now being used as a method standard. The team fitted 3,000 structural bolts with 33,000 staples to pin the mesh into place on the curve of the dome; then sprayed the inside of the dome with an eco-friendly acoustic treatment formed from recycled paper and glue. The finished result has secured the dome and improved the acoustics of the ballroom, reducing the echo problems the hall had previously experienced.
- The exposed location required periods of down time during high winds to ensure staff safety. Midas scheduled the programme to complete a large section of the high level and external works during spring and summer, with milder weather. The team worked weekends and additional hours to make up time lost during bad weather and sub-sectioned the works into different zones, with a manager to supervise works in each zone, enabling works to progress at different paces.
- To manage the constrained site, Midas restricted access times in accordance with local noise and working hours limitations. The site employed a full time vehicle controller to monitor all deliveries to the site and with planned deliveries only, scheduled to avoid rush hour, local retailers’ delivery slots and peak shopping periods. Midas leased a small parcel of adjacent land from the town council for deliveries, and rented parking spaces for contractors from an adjacent hotel.
- Midas completed a collaborative best value review to offer a £728k cost reduction at Gateway 3 but with £832k of best practice and added value benefits built in. This included an alternative roof finish, with a Soprema over-coating in place of stripping the roof, providing an improved lifespan and a saving of £60,500; an extensive review of M&E, finishes and decoration, combining services and functions where possible at a saving of £115,000; and redesigning the building to keep within the original footprint and reuse the existing foundations, for a saving of circa £300,000.
“I am delighted with the end result, these new facilities will offer our students first-class facilities and provide the best education possible. Throughout the project our students have been involved, from placements with Midas to designing the new Winter Gardens logo. Here at Weston College, we put our students first in everything we do, and so it was of utmost importance that they could feel involved in such a huge project that will go on to benefit them and the local area.”
Dr Paul Phillips CBE,
Principal and Chief Executive of Weston College