Planning permission granted for UWE’s multimillion pound engineering building

More than 1500 University of the West of England students will be housed in the AHR-designed facility, to be built on the Frenchay campus

The University of the West of England has been given planning permission for a multimillion engineering building. Located at the University’s main Frenchay campus,

the 8,500sqm facility will accommodate up to 1,600 people and has been designed to BREEAM Excellent standard.

Gary Overton (below), Director of the designers, AHR, said: “The building’s expansive use of natural light, combining circulation with social learning spaces, will promote openness and encourage an inclusive educational experience for a diverse range of student engineers. We are looking forward to delivering upon the University’s vision for 21st century, problem-based engineering.”

AHR and engineers, Hydrock, have collaborated to create a low-energy, naturally-ventilated building providing long-term flexibility.

A key challenge was to accommodate the large number of workshops requiring ground floor access. AHR overcame this by stepping the floors back around a central atrium, providing natural ventilation and consistent north light, delivered through a 1,000sqm saw-tooth roof supported on a glulam timber structure.

The central project spaces follow a vertical hierarchy, from heavy workshops and making space on the ground floor, up to laboratories and design space, culminating in individual ‘touchdown’ space for quiet study at the top of the atrium.