Restoration and Repair to Concrete Stairways
Boardman House is a landmark grade II listed Victorian building located in the centre of Norwich. The neo-classical building was originally constructed as a Sunday School in 1879 by renowned Norwich architect Edward Boardman.
In 2014, the Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) purchased Boardman House and an extensive refurbishment and restoration project was carried out to restore the building to its original glory in order to house NUA’s expanding School of Architecture. RIBA award-winning architect Anthony Hudson was appointed to adapt the listed building. Anthony Hudson helped establish the university’s BA architecture course, which began admitting students in 2012, and was appointed visiting Professor of Architecture in 2013.
As part of the £3.5m refurbishment project, the architects wanted to retain the ambience and character of the original building. One of its architectural highlights is a series of curved and straight concrete stairways, however these had fallen into disrepair over the years and needed to be repaired to surpass the relevant Health and Safety standards and to enhance their overall appearance.
Concrete repairs were first carried out using Monomix, a low density, high strength, shrinkage compensated, waterproof cementitious mortar with a high bond strength exceeding the tensile strength of concrete. It is easily trowellable and can be applied up to thicknesses of 80mm in a single application. Non-toxic when cured, Monomix is supplied as a single component system ready for on-site mixing and use, requiring only the addition of clean water.
The stair profiles and risers were then levelled and reprofiled using Monolevel 844SP, an engineering quality fairing coat which reinstates concrete cover and provides a fair faced, waterproof and anti-carbonation finish. This combination of Flexcrete products allowed the aesthetic appearance of the original concrete steps to be maintained, whilst providing a hard, durable and safe finish for the architectural students. Quirks such as a ‘flying staircase’ have also been incorporated into the design.