2007 Yearbook

INSTITUTE OF HISTORIC BUILDING CONSERVATION YEARBOOK 2007 25 I N R E V I E W HOLGER GARDEN – MATERIALS SCIENCE TO PROJECT REDSAND Affiliate member DR HOLGER GARDEN (EurIng CEng MICE ICIOB AIHBC PhD MBA MEng) is Customer Director at Taylor Woodrow’s Technology Centre. DEVELOPING NEW TECHNOLOGIES TO PRESERVE HISTORIC LANDMARKS At the cutting edge of research and development in the construction sector, my work at Taylor Woodrow’s Technology Centre involves me in a wide variety of construction projects, including both new developments and conservation of existing and often historic buildings. Based at Leighton Buzzard, the centre is a unique facility covering the entire built environment, including the full breadth of residential, commercial and industrial properties, and is a valuable resource in historic building conservation. Among the Technology Centre’s areas of expertise is the building pathology team. This team, led by Richard Norwood-Grundy, provides specialist engineering advice, with expertise in building investigations and sampling, cathodic protection, specification and implementation of remedial works and materials consultancy. My current role involves identifying how Taylor Woodrow’s skills can be engaged in solving problems for customers and adding value to their business. It was during my time as a research associate at the University of Surrey that I first began to explore the use of advanced composite materials, and I subsequently went on to become the university’s project manager for a major composites research programme called COMPCON, an initiative part-funded by the EC involving six European partners which looked at the use of advanced lightweight materials for long span construction. While I was at Taywood Engineering, which was then a subsidiary of Taylor Woodrow and is now the Technology Centre of Taylor Woodrow Construction, my main role was in the assessment and repair of buildings and structures and this has been a key aspect of my career to date. Over the course of time since then, I have moved more into people- and project-management in the structural repair and restoration side of the business, including projects involving the remediation of corroding buildings and structures, many of them historic. In the UK’s built environment the term ‘historic’ is used to cover a diverse range of structures, including a vast array of ages, materials and locations, meaning that my work is both varied and challenging. Undoubtedly, one of the most interesting projects – certainly the most unusual of locations – I have had the opportunity to be involved in is a current initiative to preserve a World War II sea fort in the Thames estuary, known as the Redsand Fort. We are currently addressing fundamental structural deterioration that has profound impact on the future existence of its 60 year old structures. As well as contributing to the war effort, the Thames sea forts have played a significant role in post-war development, most notably by pioneering construction techniques for offshore fuel exploration and drilling platforms. Project Redsand aims to preserve the historic structures of one of these forts to secure its use for business, including incorporating a visitor attraction to commemorate its interesting wartime and broadcasting past. Redsand Fort in the Thames Estuary: Project Redsand aims to preserve these WWII structures for business use, including incorporating a visitor attraction to commemorate their interesting wartime and broadcasting past.