If architecture is the science and art of designing buildings then by definition conservation architecture is the science and art of conserving buildings. Forshaw Greaves have extensive experience of working with old buildings. We believe that it is important to conserve the best pieces of architecture and to find viable sustainable uses for these buildings. This may involve a sensitive introduction of new elements of architecture. An important element of conservation architecture is a thorough understanding of building fabric and how it can be repaired and conserved. This is achieved through a thorough process of research and evaluation on any building.
As a practice and as individuals we have been involved in numerous projects that exemplify this approach. Examples include the conversion of a former pottery works in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent into housing and the repair and extension of Bradwell Hall to form a nursing home. More recently we have been involved in a program of repairs and alterations to the frontages of buildings in the conservation areas of Newcastle-under-Lyme, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent and Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent. The most significant of these was the repair of the 1930s facade to Longton Methodist Central Hall. This involved the careful repair of the damaged precast concrete facade elements and deteriorating steel windows. The repair and conservation of the upper floors of the Goslings butchers shop in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent is another example. This involved reroofing, new rainwater goods, repair to the lead parapet gutters and the careful repair and redecoration of the ornate stone facade.
Forshaw Greaves are currently involved in a number of conservation projects including the alteration and refurbishment of the Grade 2 listed Fuller Baptist Church in Kettering, refurbishment works at the Grade 2 listed St Mary's, Kinnerley and the repair of a Grade 2 listed pub in Penley near Wrexham that was seriously damaged by fire.
Dudson Pottery Factory
Whilst working for his former practice Philip Wootton was the architect of a number of significant local conservation projects. These include the conversion of the Grade 2 listed Dudson pottery factory into office accommodation for the voluntary sector. This building was in a terrible condition being completely derelict. A painstaking and methodical process of repair and rebuilding was carried out overcoming numerous technical obstacles. New pieces of architecture were sensitively inserted into the complex to bring it up to date. A particularly interesting element of this project was the bottle kiln in the central courtyard. This was converted into a museum. The project was opened by the Queen and was highly commended in the Civic trust awards.
Burslem School of Art
Whilst with his former practice Philip was also the project architect for the refurbishment of Burslem School of Art which Involved the conversion of the former Grade 2 listed school of art into a centre for adult education and starter units for arts based businesses. The terracotta facade was carefully repaired and cleaned and the atrium restored to its former glory. During the course of construction two Terracotta arches were discovered hidden above the suspended ceiling in the entrance portico. These were carefully restored. A new extension was constructed to the rear of the premises to house a lift, staircase and toilets. This was constructed in the modern equivalent of the materials used on the original building i.e. terracotta cladding and red engineering break. A particular challenge on this project was the fact that the building was not only listed for its architectural and historic merit; it actually listed 600 mm across its width due to mining substance.
Whilst with his former practice Philip Wootton was the project architect for the refurbishment of the upper floors of the Sutherland Institute in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent. This was to form a resource centre for the ceramics industry and to provide start-up units for small ceramics based businesses. It involved in the creation of a new vertical circulation shaft integrated into a light-well to the rear of this Grade 2 listed building. The new insertion was conceived as a lightweight element juxtaposed to the heavy masonry construction of the existing building. A solar shaded glazed facade, a glazed lift shaft and a glass bridge were interesting features of the project along with the careful conservation of an ornate terracotta freeze to the front elevation.
St James, Audley
Project lead by Philip Wootton whilst with former practise
As an architect accredited in building conservation whilst with his former practice Philip was also the project architect for a program of English Heritage funded repairs at the Grade 2* listed church of St James, Audley. This involved the reroofing of the church tower the complete replacement of the rain water goods system, stone repairs to the high-level masonry and the replacement of the oak louvres to the tower openings. Philip had previously been associated with this church through the repair of some significant fire damage incurred in 2007. He continues to work with the church having just completed the 2012 quinquennial inspection and report.