Dec 14, 2019 Last Updated 10:52 AM, Aug 14, 2019

Real world training

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Pellings, the multidisciplinary architectural, property and construction practice has acted as architect and project manager on an innovative new hospitality and catering facility for Bromley College of Further & Higher Education in Orpington, Kent, as part of a £1.2m contract.


The new Hospitality, Food and Enterprise Career College offers 14-19 years olds vocational, industry-focused and employer-led training in hospitality and catering, making Bromley College a leader in this area of education. The project primarily involved converting an existing sports hall that was highlighted for redevelopment at the feasibility stage.

The parameters of the sports hall’s dimensions were suitable for the new Career College, both in terms of required layout, and space for extensive cooking equipment. In addition, Bromley College’s main sporting curriculum had recently moved to a new sports hall at the Bromley campus, meaning sports facilities at the Orpington campus were no longer essential.

The completed first phase provides a training restaurant that is fully functioning and open to the public, a training kitchen that can accommodate 18 students, a production kitchen, and ancillary space including changing rooms and a common room. The second phase, set for completion in 2016, will provide a further training kitchen, a pastry kitchen, a cafe, a small retail area and al fresco dining space. The new part of the college will enable local people to train for a career in hospitality at a centre of excellence, without having to travel to central London, or even further afield.

Converting the existing sports hall addressed and avoided challenges that would have arisen if the Hospitality, Food and Enterprise Career College was being placed in a more traditional teaching building. There was the need for space that enabled communication between the kitchen and front of house, while space for the significant amount of plant equipment required for commercial kitchens also had to be provided.

The height and size of the sports hall ensured these issues were overcome. For example, the height of the hall allowed a mezzanine floor to be created directly above the kitchen that accommodates the new plant machinery, for both the production and training kitchens.

A key part of the Career College is the training restaurant, providing a ‘real world’ training environment for front of house management. Pellings designed the restaurant to overlook Orpington’s Market Square, enhancing the public’s experience, and allowing the new part of the college to present a separate public face, distinguishing it from the main college.

Market Square is currently an under-utilised public space that is undergoing a redevelopment programme. New residential space and a new cinema complex are being incorporated, and the college restaurant will support this regeneration.

Andrew Tang, the architect at Pellings responsible for the project, commented: “Designs for both the production and training kitchens are the result of an extensive collaborative process between Pellings, a hospitality and catering vocational training advisor appointed by the college, and a specialist catering equipment supplier.

“The cooking equipment in both kitchens is from the French company Charvet, which provides industry-wide recognised equipment. The layout of each kitchen was carefully designed based on its specific function with the emphasis on visibility, accessibility and the activity flow common to successful commercial kitchens,” Tang continued.

New build elements also made up a small proportion of the scheme. Two extensions to the existing college building connect it to the training restaurant. They increase the area of the training restaurant while also providing natural light. The smaller extension serves as a formal entrance to the restaurant and houses a Stannah platform lift to facilitate disabled access.

The extensions comprise steel frames, concrete ground bearing slabs, aluminium framed curtain walling with Trespa decorative facias, and flat roofs with a Bauder single-ply membrane. Unlike the kitchen areas the restaurant is a naturally ventilated space with new actuated louvre panels introduced into the existing building facade at low level and a penthouse ventilation unit installed in the roof of the new extension.

Scott Freeman, Head of the Hospitality, Food and Enterprise Career College, says: “We are delighted with the development of our Hospitality, Food and Enterprise Career College at the Orpington campus. The new restaurant – BR6 – is a valuable addition to the local community, as well as a first-class training centre for our students. We very much look forward to working with the Pellings team on the second phase of the development.”

Phase two is expected to be complete by May 2016. ITC Concepts was the contractor on the project.

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