Education Projects

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Arizona State University

We know that we usually focus our attention within the Kingdom of the United, however, we were kindly sent this project for Arizona State University by our friends at Milliken.

We are regularly seeing great examples of how advances in technology and great design are creating some stunning designs on what is usually a building’s biggest blank canvas – its floor space.

The building in question is the atrium of the university’s Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building, with a floorcovering of approximately 16.5×10 metres. Patricia Rhee, Associate at Ehrlich Architects, commented. ‘Since the atrium served as a focal point that could be viewed from all floors above, it really drove how we designed the ground floor.’

The Milliken designers were tasked to incorporate 3D images of meteor impact craters taken from a Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera into the carpet tiles. This theme aimed to bring realistic crater formations to life in the School of Earth & Space Exploration, creating an authentic lunar look by replicating the gradients, scale, shades and colours found in the high-resolution images.

Kip Hodges, School of Earth & Space Exploration Director at Arizona State University, adds: ‘We wanted to offer those who inhabit the space an informal learning centre. In the end, it was a fun challenge to see how we could incorporate beautiful imagery into an environment that would be appreciated, understood and learned by many.’

Nottingham Trent University

‘We’re committed to providing an inspiring teaching, learning, and research environment as well as an excellent student experience’. Taken from the Nottingham Trent University website, this is laudable aim, one that is clearly required in an increasingly competitive world – but as we can see, a terrific result has been achieved, in particular from the pavilion and a fantastic new teaching and learning building, which opened in September last year.

Frem, who were one of the suppliers here, told us that key for the staff and students was the need to focus on some open collaborative working spaces where they can work in small groups.

A number of collaborative spaces, fully-equipped with audio visual equipment to facilitate group study by way of nine purpose built pods, were manufactured and installed by Frem. The colourways of the pods’ upholstery, using Kvadrat Steelcut, were chosen to complement the construction materials of the new buildings, in particular the glazed brickwork to the pavilion pods and timber acoustic balustrading.

Frem also manufactured high level benching, which again is proving extremely popular for both academic and social activities.

Loughborough University

Loughborough University is the East Midlands seat of learning ranked highly for engineering and technology but perhaps better known for its sports-related achievements and courses. Forbo was chosen to provide a variety of coverings, illustrating that clients in this sector are as discerning, if not more so, than in the commercial office environment

Key considerations in the three areas were aesthetics, durability and maintenance. Some technical information: Forbo’s Nuway Tuftiguard and Coral integrated entrance flooring systems were also installed to prevent dirt being tracked in to the building from the soles of shoes or wheeled vehicles. Nuway systems reliably tackle intense high point loads, while the Coral lines effectively remove footborne moisture for optimum safety. Surestep Wood safety flooring was installed to separate workstations from
seating areas.

University of Bedfordshire


Another use of different floorings by Forbo was used at the University of Bedfordshire’s Campus Centre in Luton. Housing a 240-seat lecture theatre, exhibition space, informal learning zones, the Student Union and a variety of places to eat, the building’s multipurpose nature meant a combination of flooring solutions were required to meet the diverse needs of the space.

Products from Forbo’s comprehensive range of carpet tiles formed the main component of the flooring design, which was specified by the University’s Facilities and Estates department. In the corridors, common areas and offices, 3,200 sq m of Tessera Alignment carpet tiles in contrasting shades of black, grey and brown – the Nucleus, Climate and Celcius colourways – were installed in a creative pattern that emphasised the linear design of the tiles.

Imperial College London


This multi-site university is battling with the challenge of a much more open and indeed global university marketplace. The desire is to offer some of the best facilities not just in the UK but to a global audience and the refurbishment of the library in South Kensington is another step in the right direction. Willmott Dixon Interiors (WDI) completed the Cat A & B refurbishment of three floors of library in seven weeks within the budget of £3.5m. This fast-paced project was delivered in a live environment during exam time where WDI could only gain access to the project via the 3rd floor. Identifying and managing risk with the PM and QS team made the project run extremely smoothly. At several points in the project, the team amended the design swiftly and without delay, much to the client’s satisfaction.

Centre and Clyde


City of Glasgow College’s Riverside Campus, on the banks of the River Clyde, officially opened its doors in August last year. The second instalment, the City Campus based on Cathedral Street, is due to be completed in August this year.

Construction began on the new £228million campus in summer 2013, with the project due for completion in summer 2017 following final demolitions and landscaping.

KI secured 14,000 individual products across 400 different product lines for the City of Glasgow College’s staff and students on both Campus sites.

The Intellect Wave seating collection was selected in a colour palette of Tangelo, Grass Green, Sunburst and Warm Grey, along with Maestro and Torsion on the Go!

Seating was sourced by consultants MXQ Solutions to help create dynamic learning spaces for the college in accordance with the overall design brief. Director Ian Johnstone said: ‘The FF&E brief for this project was to source products with a high quality aesthetic for this new learning environment. KI’s educational seating provided the ideal blend of practicality and longevity with a fresh modern colour range perfect in realising the college’s vision.’

Tested in a temporary teaching block at the College’s City Campus, KI’s chairs were deemed to be extremely comfortable and featured superior functionality – particularly with the innovative tablet arm on the Learn2 chair.

Iain Marley, City of Glasgow Project Director, said: ‘Phase One of our world class super college at Riverside campus represents the realisation of our vision for an inspiring and innovative working, learning and corporate environment and the FF&E is a fundamental aspect of that. The seating selection was by reference to aesthetic, durability and sustainability criteria and we are delighted that the products rated very highly on each of these.’

University of Brighton

Whilst occupied by 2,600 students and staff, Willmott Dixon Interiors (WDI) delivered a design by Fraser Brown MacKenna for one of the UK’s largest retrofits of a mixed-use academic building. Together, they transformed the Cockcroft Building at the University of Brighton from a dark, cellular and unloved space into a bright, flexible learning and research environment, fit for the information age, with ‘learning labs’ and agile workspace for staff and students.

An innovative approach integrating architectural, building services and structural design has unlocked the environmental potential of the 10,500 sq m building and enhanced this with the latest technology, including an aquifer thermal energy store, realising a 57% reduction in energy demand, 59% reduction in CO2 emissions and fuel savings of £82,000 each year.

The 2½ year programme comprised four phases. WDI were given access to two floors of the building at a time, whilst lectures, teaching and meetings for the users of the building continued around them. Sensitivity to noise, dust and vibration was crucial to maintaining programme and a satisfied client. WDI achieved the Considerate Constructors Scheme’s 2015 ‘Gold’ Award for exemplar performance against their Code of Practice, with consistent scoring of 45/50.

Factory 2050


Here’s another story from Sheffield University – with Factory 2050 in the spotlight. Billed as the first reconfigurable assembly and component manufacturing facility for collaborative research in the UK, it is capable of rapidly switching production between high-value components and one-off parts.

Bond Bryan Architects, who will be directing operations with the Universities glass atrium (see page 37) in the coming months, designed the innovative the 6,700 sq m, revolutionary glass-walled, circular factory, at the heart of the University of Sheffield’s new advanced manufacturing campus on Sheffield Business Park.

Challenging the stereotypical, rectilinear architectural solution to industrial buildings, the striking design of the steel-framed circular glass building was designed to act as an international example for automated production facilities for the 21st century.

Solus Ceramics provided their large format (1500 x 700mm) tiles from the Replicate range, which are installed in the central rotunda, breakout spaces and perimeter circular walkways,

Jon Rigby, Associate at Bond Bryan Architects, said of the project: ‘A key requirement of the client’s brief was to create a true open plan, well-lit and highly connected working environment and to challenge the literal and symbolic separation that typically occurs between office and production areas.

‘The tiles were cut using a waterjet technique, cut radially to follow the shape of the building. This process was undertaken in a factory using a cutting company in liaison with ourselves and Solus Ceramics. This process was necessary to ensure accuracy and consistency, and also to reduce site waste and installation time. The outcome is spectacular and the slight tonal difference selected from the range between the circulation and activity areas is fantastic.’

Coventry University


Work on the first phase of a £60m project by Coventry University to transform its health and life sciences faculty has completed. Built in 1971, the Richard Crossman building was named after the political journalist and Labour politician and included a mock hospital ward and operating theatre.

The scheme involved a comprehensive refurbishment over five floors (100,000 sq ft), the current home to a range of health and life science departments including nursing, occupational therapy, paramedics, psychology and student registry services.

The refurbishment of the building was carried out by principal contractor Overbury and designed by Broadway Malyan. Construction was undertaken in a number of phases to enable the building to remain operational for teaching throughout. The works included the relocation of student registry services and improved circulation and migration routes around the ground floor, with the introduction of new social spaces and large scale, flexible general teaching facilities. Mark Evans, associate at Broadway Malyan said: ‘We are delighted to be handing over this phase of the scheme, which has delivered the vision set out during the stakeholder engagements and is the next piece of the jigsaw in Coventry University’s aspiration to create world-class health and life science teaching facilities.’

Rob Talliss, Director of Estate Development at Coventry University, said: ‘The project has produced a total transformation of Richard Crossman, turning it into a modern and open building which provides the perfect environment for students and staff. The project was so well designed and phased that already it is hard to remember how it was before. It is a building of which the university can be rightly proud.’

Nottingham Trent University


The relatively new name that is New Design Group has been supplying education establishments for some years through its brands Ryan Furniture, Chorus and Cambridge Park. Katie Senior, Nottingham Trent University Facilities Manager was clearly happy to have worked with the Group.

‘An exciting transformation of the Clifton Campus at Nottingham Trent University has created an inspiring teaching, learning and social heart. Alongside our suppliers, Southerns, we selected a range of furnishings and worked closely with the New Design Group in sourcing a mix from their Cambridge Park, Chorus and Ryan brands to complement the bright modern buildings. The result is a stunning dining facility, welcoming social and group study areas and a suite of flexible, fit-for-purpose teaching spaces. In particular, the Group worked with us on the design and manufacture of furniture specifically to support our collaborative teaching methods, enabling us to create an environment widely praised and enjoyed by staff
and students.’

Freeman Centre University of Sussex


Wilmott Dixon Interiors (WDI) was commissioned to refurbish The Freeman Centre to house the Law, Politics and Sociology Department at the University’s Falmer Campus – just a stone’s throw from one of the greatest sporting upsets ever when 29,000 people watched Japan beat South Africa in last year’s Rugby World Cup

This fast-paced refurbishment of a 1960’s building involved a strip-out, remodelling and transformation of a currently open plan space, into cellular space. The full refurbishment included new M&E, lift and internal fit-out, providing the university with new offices and teaching accommodation on the ground and first floors. WDI also installed an exact replica of a courtroom for the students to study and learn from.

This project was procured via the Scape framework; an increasingly popular route to market for the HE sector who are looking for accelerated public sector procurement routes. The £4.7 million project was delivered in 28 weeks, over 38,000 sq ft. The client was more than satisfied with the results and now WDI is midway through a second project on the Falmer campus.

University of Worcester


The University of Worcester sought the expertise of Karndean Designflooring, when replacing
a 50 year old real wood parquet floor in its main dining hall. Home to over 10,000 students and 1,000 staff, the university were looking to maintain the traditional look of parquet, but offer a modern and contemporary feel.

Mark Evans, head of estate services at University of Worcester explains “Both our dining room and reception were prone to scuffs and indentations from high heeled shoes, so having our Karndean parquet floor, we’ll be able easily maintain our floor and ensure it retains its beauty for longer.”


Universities to showcase £1bn pipeline

Confidence appears to be returning to the property jamboree MIPIM, (see page 80) but it’s not just commercial property aiming to make the requisite noises. The University of Warwick and Coventry University are investing in a range of academic, commercial and accommodation buildings over the next five years to the tune of £1bn.

Over the next 18 months, a number of major projects are due to be completed, including the National Automotive Innovation Centre (NAIC), Bishop Gate student accommodation scheme in Coventry and a new conference centre at the University of Warwick.

Les Ratcliffe, Chairman of the Coventry and Warwickshire Place board and a member of the Coventry and Warwickshire MIPIM Partnership, said: ‘Both Coventry and Warwick are outstanding examples of how universities have not only strived to improve on an academic front, but have shown great ambition for their respective campuses and have continued to set the standard in forging links with industry.’

Sheffield University undulating glass atrium


Planning agreement has been given to link Sheffield University’s two oldest buildings with a glass atrium, connecting the Grade II listed Mappin Building with the 1855 Central Wing.

Sheffield-based architect Bond Bryan has led the design of the Faculty of Engineering and a contractor will be appointed for the £10m project in the summer, with work expected to start in 2017 and completed in 2018. Additionally, both the Mappin Building and Central Wing will also undergo a complete refurbishment under
the future plans.

Second UTC for Sheffield

As one door closes (mass steel production and World Student Games) for Sheffield Don Valley, another one opens as a University Technical College (UTC) is due to be created by BAM as part of a £9.3m project

The four-storey UTC 2 Sheffield will be sited on the Olympic Legacy Park in Don Valley, whilst currently underway is the Oasis Academy Don Valley – also by BAM. It is due to open in September 2016, and hold 600 pupils aged 14-19.