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The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge

Sidell Gibson Architects with John Miller + Partners

The architect’s view

The project for the Grade II Listed Beaney Institute meets the need to expand facilities to satisfy curatorial and environmental requirements, to improve accessibility and the range of community services offered to the public along with repair of the historic building fabric.

A new public entrance on Best Lane provides the opportunity to address circulation issues, creating a major new accessible public entrance to the enlarged building footprint. This entrance leads into a dramatic top-lit foyer space that progresses sequentially, culminating in new library and gallery accommodation. The new route engages at right angles with the existing axial corridor approach from the High Street.

The reception is located at this important double height focal point, opposite a glass-fronted lift shaft and open staircase that act as a pin interlocking the old with the new, bringing coherence and clarity to the plan.

  • Richard Brearley, partner and Paul SR Martin associate project architect, Sidell Gibson Architects

Project data

Start on site August 2010
Completion April 2012
Gross internal floor area 3,500m2
Form of contract or procurement route Traditional JCT 2005 with Quantities
Total cost £8.7 million
Cost per m2 £2,400
Client Canterbury City Council and Kent County Council - Joint Venture project
Structural engineer Campbell Reith Consulting
M&E consultant Mott MacDonald
Quantity surveyor Faithful and Gould
Other consultants Exhibition Designers – Casson Mann
Project manager Faithful and Gould
CDM coordinator Faithful and Gould
Approved building inspector Canterbury City Council, Building Control
Main contractor Wates
CAD software used AutoCad
Annual CO2 emissions not available 
Airtightness at 50 Pa
Designed to max 7 m3/h/m2 for the extension. Unknown for the existing building Estimated annual heating & hot water load 43.63 kWh/m2
Overall area-weighted u-value 0.68 W/m2K (average of new build and renovation)

Specified products

Ceramic Floor Tiles, Atrium Flooring and Staircase Risers and Treads

Marazzi Sistem N

Neutro Bianco, 600mm square with stair nosing in contrasting Neutro Tortora


Rubber Sheet Flooring, Library Flooring

Noraplan rubber sheet, signa range

Product Reference 2930, sheet rolls, 2mm thick


American White Oak Parquet, Temporary Exhibition Gallery Flooring

American white oak parquet, supplied by T. Westby & Co

18mm thick Prime grade, with applied seal


In-situ Terrazzo Flooring (New and Repairs)

W. B. Simpson (terrazzo)

In-situ terrazzo, 6mm multi coloured marble aggregate


Architectural Metalwork, Structural Glass Balustrades & Ceiling Louvres

Diva Metalwork


External Facing Brickwork

Weinerberger Brick

Blended Orange Gilt Stock and Classic Blue Multi


Thermal Insulation Linings, Walls & Roofs

Pavatherm, Natural Building Technologies Ltd

Pavatherm Plus, 100mm thick



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