Games Art students offer a virtual vision of new campus’s heritage

Date 9.10.2018

A virtual version of an historic building at the University of Northampton’s new Waterside Campus has been created by a team of talented Games Art students.

The Engine Shed is a Grade II-listed former railway building which has been restored with the help of a £1.3m Heritage Lottery Fund to become the new home of the University’s Students’ Union.

The rich heritage of the building, which was built in 1873 and decommissioned in 1965 before becoming a welding school, has been brought back to life in a 3D environment created by students, including Fiona Galloway and Ryan Gaveglia.

The video, which is being shown on screens in the Engine Shed, recreates the building as it was in the 1900s-1920s, and includes a locomotive from the era.

The project was created from architectural plans of the era, and photographic archives.

Fiona, who is in her final year of the Games Art course and modelled the locomotive, said: “I am very proud of my contribution to this project and seeing the video in the Engine Shed makes me proud to have been part of it.

“At the time this was the most complicated prop I had ever attempted to model and it was a real challenge, particularly because it was difficult to find high quality reference photos. But I am very pleased with the way the finished model looks.”

Fiona, who harbours ambitions of forging a career in the video games industry after she graduates, added: “Games Art is a fantastic course, our lecturers are good at giving advice and explain everything clearly. The course is very challenging so support from both lecturers and fellow students is crucial to being able to produce the best work possible.”

The Engine Shed was constructed in 1873 at the junction of the main London and North Western Railway line and the former Northampton branch line.

Northampton’s Engine Shed was decommissioned in 1965 and converted into a Regional Civil Engineers Welding School by British Rail.

In 1998 the welding school was taken out of action and two years later a fire damaged some of the shed’s structure. The building continued to decline as it was left open to the elements, before the Students’ Union commissioned its restoration, which was completed in 2018, in time for the new academic year.

The Engine Shed undergoing restoration in February 2018