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The Engine Shed

The UoN, Northampton

As part of their relocation to ‘Waterside’ the Students' Union identified the opportunity for the old Engine Shed to become the centre for its on-campus services. 

The Students' Union project would see essential conservation work carried out to the Grade II listed building, which has seen the largely derelict shell of the Engine Shed restored to its former grandeur.

Read more about the history of the Engine Shed here:


The Student’s Union 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- Café; Open Plan Office and meeting space; Student Council & Evening Social Events.

It was also important for the Student’s Union to create their own identity within the building on the Waterside Campus.

We worked closely with the Project architect MCW to ensure the finishes and products specified fit the client brief, but also were sympathetic to the buildings unique infrastructure and history.


"From start to finish working with Ralph + Smith has been a delight.


“From day one Ralph + Smith have had a strong understanding of our needs and requirements for the space and have enthusiastically worked and liaised with our student representatives and staff to further develop our initial brief.


Over the course of the project they’ve presented us with a range of options to explore in products, fabrics, finishes and price points and in a number of formats suitable for both internal meetings and public consultation.


The products they have sourced for us have more than exceeded our expectations for how the space could be designed and have created a comfortable, contemporary and vibrant new home for our student body. They have undoubtedly gone above and  beyond, particularly in sourcing a number of products meeting our creative brief designed by former alumni of the University.


Chloe and Claire have been communicative throughout the entire process, keeping us updated on progress and responding swiftly to feedback. They’re a friendly and approachable team and have been easy to discuss ideas with and open to the input of our students.


Their professionalism and effervescent personalities have made this project a joy.”


Andrew Berrie, University of Northampton Student’s Union Marketing and Communications Manager!scene=campus-life&details=9

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