School of Engineering

Killingworth, 1974 Ryder and Yates

The School of Engineering, constructed alongside the original Engineering Research Station, was created for the teaching of new techniques in the distribution of natural gas. The design comprised of classrooms, workshops, a formal lecture theatre and a restaurant that supplemented facilities in the main building.

Although this new building was within 8 m of the Research Station and physically linked by an aerial glass walkway, its form and materials were entirely different. The external walls were still of pre-cast concrete panels, but the module was different and the surface finish was an exposed aggregate of broken brown glass rather than the acrylic paint of the original. The aggregate in the panels was complemented in the glazing by the use of bronze tinted anti-sun glass. The two flush-fitting fire escape doors on the southern facade were given the same aggregate facing as the concrete panels, which together with the partial glass enclosure to the external stairs, meant that they did not disrupt the rhythm of the facade.

The School of Engineering, like the ERS, hid its structure behind a formal facade, but here the rectilinear envelope concealed a circular lecture theatre on a suspended horseshoe beam.

All images courtesy of Photo-mayo studio