Breaking New Ground

Reconnecting People with The Brecks

Young people bringing new life into old buildings

Two West Suffolk College Construction and Built Environment Extended Diploma students were presented with brand new laptops after winning a heritage construction design competition set by the Heritage Lottery funded Breaking New Ground Landscape Partnership Scheme.

Back in October 2014, Nick went out to West Suffolk College (WSC) to invite level 3 ‘Construction and Built Environment’ extended diploma students to take part in a design competition focussed on the restoration of the Engine House at Brandon Country Park. The brief they were given was to come up with a design for a link building that will bring the two existing structures of the old Engine House together. They also had to consider building materials and costs associated with the construction. This would give the students a real life application for their design research and a chance to look at historic buildings and considerations when renovating these old structures.
The class split into four pairs to work on their projects which were to be submitted by the February half term. As an additional learning experience the groups were invited to present their designs to a panel of judges at High Lodge on 28th January. The judges were Kay Boyden, (Consultant), Mike Taylor, (Forestry Commission), Dan King (BCP Senior Ranger), Gary Clarke (WSC) and Nick Dickson (BNG), who, in true Dragon’s Den style, gave the students constructive advice and asked lots of questions after each presentation. The students were all very nervous to present to a professional panel but all delivered fabulous power-point presentations showing the hard work and effort they had put into their designs.

Joe Twelftree (18) and Tom Cross (17), current Level 3 students, beat off the three other teams to be awarded the very generous prize from The Breaking New Ground Project. Tom said, “He was really pleased to have won, it was a great project to be involved in”, and Joe agreed, adding, “We are extremely grateful and happy that our hard work has paid off”. Both thanked the Breaking Ground Project for their prizes.

Nick Dickson, Breaking New Ground Project Manager said; “We were extremely impressed with the level of skill and dedication shown by all the students involved in this project but the winning scheme was chosen as it demonstrated a professional approach to the project brief, a choice of materials that reflected the industrial heritage of the existing buildings and a well thought out overall design that was well presented." He added "We hope to incorporate elements from Joe and Tom’s design in the final scheme, so they should feel very proud of their work."

Donna Davies, Course Director for the Level 3 Construction and Built Environment Programme  said, “Working on this brief has given the student a real life experience of a genuine industry project. They have had to research the brief, survey the site, understand the challenges that a heritage project can present and then pitch their schemes to a panel of senior professionals from the project.

“At West Suffolk College we always look to build partnerships with organisations where our students can benefit and develop their skills. This project has been an incredible learning experience for them all. I’d like to thank the Breaking New Ground team for this opportunity and the very generous prizes”.

We hope the college will continue to be involved as the project to restore the Engine House develop.