Tramways – Chester



Tramways was a redevelopment of a site of historic significance to create a complex of student accommodation in five new build blocks which had to reflect and fit in with the conservation area in which they sit.

The site, at Carr Street/Crewe Street, was first developed in the 1840s as part of Chester’s first railway station before becoming a wagon repairing workshop and later a tram depot until the 1930s.  Although the site was subsequently redeveloped and used as a bus station, physical evidence of the old industrial and transport heritage visibly remained when it was cleared in 2005.  Tram tracks, still in their original stone setts, ran like a spine through the site, such that their retention and incorporation defined the project and the new layout from the start.

The design process included consultations with Chester City Council’s Conservation team and English Heritage as well as a detailed archaeological evaluation through which remaining elements of historic foundations were identified.  The new foundations were designed to avoid and thereby retain these historic elements whilst enabling the new buildings to stand above them.  The design of the new buildings, whilst distinctly contemporary, respects the industrial and local vernacular through its variety of massing and roofscape, the rhythm of vertical openings as well as the mix of brickwork, zinc and bronze rainscreen cladding.

The scheme was Highly Commended at the Cheshire West and Chester Civic Awards, 2021

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