The original Grade II* listed Rougemont House was a private residence, constructed in around 1770 within the in-filled inner ditch of Exeter’s Rougemont Castle. The building was extended and modernised in 1805 and again in 1819 and in 1913 it was converted into a museum of archaeology.
In spring 2013 ADG began working closely with Exeter College (the end user and client), the Education Funding Agency, extended design team and the contractor to provide accommodation suitable for a modern specialist educational facility. The early project stages involved fitting the school’s required accommodation into the existing building, whilst working within the constraints of the building’s listing and the £1.4m budget. A continuous process of planning consultation with Exeter City Council’s Conservation Officer and English Heritage ensured that a planning application was lodged and conditional planning consent was granted, within the tight programme constraints set by the EFA.
Our role as lead designer encompassed architectural design, architectural conservation and interior design services. These were all necessary in developing the detailed scheme design within a budget that had to incorporate restoration, refurbishment, re-use and new build elements of work.
The budget, programme and derogation from technical standards were all key risks, requiring creative solutions, negotiation and collaboration to overcome. Each space was individually analysed to determine which elements could be removed and what needed to stay.
The project was completed in 2014 and houses accommodation including a library, personal study spaces, flexible teaching spaces, meeting rooms and a science laboratory. At full capacity the building provides space for 120 students. In order to satisfy fire egress and accessibility requirements, a new stair and lift enclosure was designed to fit within a very modest external space between the existing building and boundary wall, allowing the linking of all four levels of the building. The school is now running at capacity and has proven to be a great success.