Working in the leisure industry can call for the application of engineering skills to realise the creative vision of others. The desired aim can be to create an environment that offers comfort and combines the best of modern design and functionality with the best of period styling.
Our brief while working on the mechanical and electrical engineering solution for the £70 million refit of the old Great Eastern Hotel in London was to help create an environment that blended the best of old and new within the hotel's iconic fabric. The original building was designed by Victorian architect Sir Charles Barry, who also designed the Houses of Parliament, the Trafalgar Square precinct and Highclere Castle. As such it represented a wonderful opportunity to create a unique hotel.
The hotel, relaunched as The Andaz, is a stunning example of Victorian elegance brought confidently into the 21st century. Among the energy savings we introduced were reduced water consumption, a computer-controlled boiler system, intelligent lighting systems, and low-voltage lighting.
Sometimes there must be no trace of the modern aspects used in a project. We provided structural engineering skills for the refurbishment of Hut 8 at Bletchley Park, which is the location of Station X, the UK code-breaking operation during the second world war. The hut, structurally nothing much more than a gigantic garden shed, was not built with any sense of permanence. However, its historic significance is immense: it was at the centre of the Enigma code-breaking during the Battle of the Atlantic from 1941. Our brief was to provide structural engineering services to return the building to its original 1940s appearance: from period joinery and an outwardly identical modern replacement for asbestos, to a replica of Alan Turing's mug chained to the radiator next to his desk.