Scott Brownrigg help Aspire Defence 'Make Soldiers Lives Better', at Allenby/Connaught's Tidworth Garrison, Salisbury Plain



Architects Scott Brownrigg are supporting Aspire Defence in the first phase of a flagship garrison at Tidworth, Wiltshire, dramatically improving the quality of life for returning soldiers. Opened on 19th October 2007, by The Secretary of State for Defence, the Rt Hon Des Browne MP and The Chief of General Staff, General Sir Richard Dannatt, Allenby / Connaught have demonstrated how they can provide a living community ‘well and truly, fit for heroes’.

Scott Brownrigg were commissioned, on the £1.2bn planning and construction project, to create a revolutionary overhaul and masterplan, to make better use of and consolidate facilities in Aldershot Garrison and a number of other garrisons in the Salisbury Plain area, including Tidworth Garrison. The garrisons jointly provide living accommodation for 18,700 military personnel, being 20% of the British Army.

Scott Brownrigg are working in partnership with Aspire Defence Ltd, who are appointed to manage and operate the service provision, covering property management and maintenance, transport, stores, office services, catering, cleaning and waste disposal contractors under a 35 year Public Private Partnership contract.

The ten-year construction plan will establish 11,500 new and refurbished single en-suite rooms with 360 new buildings and 140 refurbished buildings. 435 buildings will be demolished. 60% of the new build is living accommodation with the remainder being for technical use or offices.

Aspire Defence Chairman, Arthur Moore said, “This opening shows what the private sector can achieve in partnership with the Army and the Ministry of defence; on time, on budget and with a long term commitment to high standards of quality”

For the first completed phase, Scott Brownrigg produced a development masterplan for Tidworth Garrison in the Salisbury Plain. 55 buildings have already been completed, with 84 buildings demolished, of which 90% of the material has been re-used.

Project Allenby / Connaught has created an attractive living environment at Tidworth with a village atmosphere. The village, which runs through the heart of the camp, is a revolutionary concept for a military Garrison. The design of the accommodation, dining areas, pubs, fitness suites and sports areas including all weather football pitches, gives the village a campus style feel. Each regiment’s accommodation has been designed as an informal continuous arrangement, following the contours of the site and allowing regiments to live in a single village. Separate vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle route’s create safe circulation and traffic-free neighbourhoods.

In the words of Peter Møller BA DipArch RIBA, Lead Architect of Project Allenby / Connaught, Scott Brownrigg:

‘A strategic master plan has been developed for each Garrison, to meet current military needs and where ever possible provide a framework to respond to future needs. The master plan puts a halt to the sporadic development previously seen within the Garrisons. Living and working areas are distinctly separated as are purely administrative functions from more industrial working facilities.’

One of the highlights of the current completed new buildings is the Hub - the Junior Ranks Dining Centre, the first of six such buildings to be constructed. It represents the first of a number of unique solutions embodied within the Aspire overhaul of the military estate.

Traditionally each regiment has its own dining centre, but in this case a number of regiments share the same facility leading to substantial economies in catering provision but also great benefits in providing additional services to the soldiers.

The building itself is a contemporary, single storey structure with a low pitched roof behind a feature eaves profile. The external walls comprise of a palette of materials: including off white render, feature cladding of metal paneling, brickwork and glazed curtain-walling. A colonnade is provided to the front of the building.

The internal space of the Hub is bright and airy with a light and friendly feel , providing a contemporary space linked to external terraces. The white columns contrast with the dark charcoal and blue fleck flooring.  The facilities provided include a bar, restaurant, internet facilities, conference area and retail outlet.  

Particular focus of the project is delivering vastly improved living accommodation for soldiers. A modular construction solution has been adopted to deliver a quality finish and fast track construction programme. Room modules were built off site by Corus in Wales and Rollalong in England, incorporating en-suite shower room modules fabricated in the Czech Republic, then installed on site and the external weathering envelope applied. 

Single soldiers, who used to share rooms and washing facilities, in old fashioned Victorian buildings, now have their own bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms in either 36 or 8 man units. The regular soldiers have good sized rooms for their accommodation recognising the soldiers’ personal space needs, with worktop, shelves, 2 chests of drawers, 2 wardrobes and en-suite bathroom with shower.

Each ‘flat’ or ‘house’ has a communal lounge, a kitchen and a laundry room, with separate individual storage spaces for each soldier. For soldiers who live outside the camp there is a new ‘live out’ change facility which allows them to change their work clothes.

The officers’ accommodation is appropriately more generous in size together with enhanced internal finishes and individual choice wherever and whenever possible.  Again modular construction has been used.

There is an emphasis on sustainability throughout the project, retaining key buildings, refurbishing and converting whenever possible and appropriate. Sustainability principles are engrained in the contract. More than 90% of construction material from demolished buildings will be reused on site. The provision of solar arrays is expected to save 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and more than 100 buildings will be fitted with Combined Heat and Power units, which will save an estimated 2,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Rainwater Harvesting will yield some 17,500 cubic metres of water, enough to fill 10 Olympic sized swimming pools or the equivalent of approximately, 4,000,000 toilet flushes a year. All Grade 2 listed buildings are being refurbished to a high standard.

Nature ecology was carefully considered including the implementation of one of the largest bat migration schemes in the UK and by minimizing development on green spaces and preserving trees wherever possible.Scott Brownrigg have achieved a contemporary and adaptable design contributing hugely to ‘Making Soldiers Lives Better’.