Blackwater Sailing Club Extension: Steward's Workshop and Cadet Training Facility

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Blackwater Sailing Club is a members' club near Maldon, Essex, originally founded in 1899. The Clubhouse is a fine example of an unlisted heritage building in a sensitive setting adjacent to the Blackwater Estuary.

As membership was growing, the club decided that it needed extra capacity. It preferred to consider a range of ideas before employing consultants and contractors and investing its limited resources.

What were the challenges?

The project team needed to create a design that was affordable, complemented the existing landmark building, and allowed activities to continue during redevelopment.

The Clubhouse is in a designated flood zone and therefore had to be enlarged without compromising the river frontage. Enhancements to estuary-facing sites must satisfy the planning authority's goals as much as they match the client's needs. Our team realised the club's values and explored and defined the building's significance and sense of place; conceptual factors that need to be right before proposing alterations to heritage buildings.

How did we help?

Dr Alan Coday's team and University students surveyed and reviewed the building in 2009. We identified the rationale, scale and form of building needed to meet the needs of the club, and advised on the layout, designation and finish for a closely linked additional building.

The client was then able to issue the refined brief to a local architect and contractor, creating an impressive £300,000 extension. The revitalised structure was opened in 2010.

What did our clients think of our contribution?

The Club was delighted to involve our team, including students, in exploring alternative design concepts and addressing some of the challenges they faced. They were able to review a large number of options before engaging in contractual consultation, while benefiting from 'outside the box' thinking.

Further reading

Blackwater Sailing Club

Yachts and Yachting

The Club also achieved 'Yachts and Yachting Club of the Year 2014', verifying the success of the club and its facilities.