18th November 2019

Our Work on A-Listed Ramshorn Kirk Building for Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools, University of Strathclyde

We’re pleased to have recently completed work for the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools on the A-listed Ramshorn Kirk building, part of the University of Strathclyde.

The Ramshorn Kirk was built in 1824-26, designed by Thomas Rickman, a major architect in the Gothic revival. The building and its grounds hold a wealth of history, with the graves and stained-glass windows of the kirk mentioning names of notable citizens and merchants that are familiar to Glaswegians, such as Ingram, Buchanan, Dennistoun and Glassford. Ramshorn’s graveyard was once a prestigious location to be buried in, and the crypt within the Ramshorn also has many notable merchants, bankers and citizens laid to rest, including the University’s founder John Anderson himself.

In 1982, The University of Strathclyde bought the church. It used to operate as a theatre and performing arts space, however since 2011 the building has lay largely unoccupied. In 2019 the renovation of the Ramshorn was completed, and it became the new home of Scotland’s National Centre for Languages (SCILT) and the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools (CISS).

We have extensive experience of working with historical, listed buildings, which each come with their own challenges. For the Ramshorn project, it was necessary to preserve the unique architectural and historical features of the church. As is our approach with all listed buildings, we adopted a conservation approach from the outset ensuring that appropriate levels of care and caution were employed whilst carrying out works to the fabric.

We worked alongside Architects – Austin Smith Lord, Quantity Surveyors – Armour Construction Consultants, Structural Engineers – Waterman Group, and M&E Consultants – Hulley and Kirkwood.

The project successfully saw the transformation of a disused historic building into a vibrant modern office environment and multi-use space. The previous theatre space and hall were renovated into flexible event and teaching spaces that will be used as a hub for cultural exchange, performances and engagement work with schools, scholars, local government and the public.

Essential structural and servicing works took place to ensure longevity of the building for years to come. Although these are not as apparent as the fabric and decorative conservation and renovation work, these are vital to comply with current technical building standards and legislation.

The building now boasts modern and more efficient heating, ventilation, cooling, and electrical services ensuring its relevance and adaptability for the future.

The project involved the following key activities;

  • General downtakings, alterations and slappings, including removal of services and existing lift
  • Conservation of existing roof and façade  
  • New section of Roof to form WC’s
  • Formation of roof openings and new roof lights
  • New curtain walling and associated screens and door
  • Internal walls and partitions
  • Internal doors and ironmongery
  • New Glazed screens and doors
  • Repairs to existing wall, floor and ceiling finishes
  • Wall, floor and ceiling finishes
  • Decoration
  • Fixed furniture, fittings and fixtures including Reception Desk
  • Mechanical and Electrical downtakings
  • Alterations to and installation of new ventilation system
  • Alterations to drainage systems
  • Alterations to and installation of new heating and cooling
  • Alterations to and installation of new Small Power, Lighting, and security control
  • Alterations to and installation of new Fire Protection
  • New Passenger lift
  • Alteration to and installation of new Communications and Security Systems
  • New AV system
  • New lightning protection system

Angus MacInnes, Construction Director at Taylor and Fraser, commented;

“This project builds on Taylor and Fraser’s portfolio of successful Conservation and Refurbishment projects, executed in a way that more than exceeded the Client’s expectations. We are delighted to have successfully completed this project on time to the highest of standards.”

Mandy Reeman-Clark, Business & Finance Manager at SCILT and CISS, said;

“On behalf of all my colleagues at SCILT and CISS, I would like to express sincere thanks for all the work that you, your teams and associates have put in over the last year or so to bringing the Ramshorn back to life, to enable the staff of Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, and Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools to relocate to this iconic building in the heart of Glasgow. We understand how many months of planning have gone into getting the design right and then all the work involved into bringing the project to fruition and know that it wasn’t always easy due to the nature of the building.

We moved in last week and I have to say we are blown away with the building, the attention to detail in retaining the original features of the Ramshorn, while enabling it to become a modern, exciting space for our staff to work in. The team is delighted to relocate to this wonderful new space, and they wanted to pass on their thanks.”

Our entire team is thrilled with the excellent feedback received from the client. We look forward to continuing our longstanding relationship with the University of Strathclyde in the future.

View photo gallery of the project here.

You can find out more about our work for the University of Strathclyde here.

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