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"From start to finish, working with Ralph + Smith has been a delight. Their professionalism and effervescent personalities have made this project a joy.

They’re a friendly and approachable team and have been easy to discuss ideas with and open to the input of our staff and students.

Ralph + Smith have more than exceeded our expectations for how the space could be designed, creating a comfortable, contemporary and vibrant new home for our student body. They have undoubtedly gone above and beyond meeting our brief."

Andrew Berrie  |  Marketing and Communications Operations Manager  |  University of Northampton

It was important for the Student’s Union to create their own identity within the building on the Waterside Campus and they identified the opportunity for the beautiful old Engine Shed to become the centre of their on-campus services.

The brief for the Engine Shed was specific; the design and furniture had to be flexible and suitable to facilitate the different day-to-day configurations:


Open Plan Office

Meeting Space

Student Council

Event Social Space

Essential conservation work was carried out to the Grade II listed building, which has seen the largely derelict shell of the Engine Shed restored to its former grandeur.

We worked closely with the project architect to ensure the finishes and products specified fitted the client brief, but also were sympathetic to the building's unique infrastructure and history.

Our Roles

Full Design Consultancy

Space Planning


FF&E Specification

Budget Management

Furniture Supply

Project Management




University of Northampton

Waterside Campus | Northampton

Education | Hospitality

The Engine Shed