Places & spaces: August 2020

Emma Dance rounds up the most interesting recent developments on and around UK campuses

The Royal Veterinary College

A new state-of-the-art research and teaching facility at the Royal Veterinary College has been given a £1.25m funding boost.

The three-storey development is already under way, and is part of a massive £45m project at the College’s Hawkshead Campus in Hertfordshire which, once completed, aims to deliver unique benefits to people, animals, societies and environments at a global scale, through a pioneering approach known as ‘One Health’.

The cash injection comes courtesy of the Wolfson Foundation. Chief executive Paul Ramsbottom says, “The recent Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need for constant vigilance against, and preparation for, the emergence of animal diseases as a serious threat to human lives and livelihoods. We are delighted to support the RVC in establishing new facilities to house leading researchers from a wide variety of disciplines, and not least to rise to this challenge.”

University of Warwick

All the departments in Warwick University’s Faculty of Arts are being brought together in a single building for the first time.

The ambitious architectural design for the new structure was imagined by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and comprises four wings of varying heights built around a central atrium and connected by a complex series of bridges and wings. It includes a double-height lecture theatre on the ground floor and a cantilevered section at the front of the building.

In order to turn the plans into reality, construction firm Bowmer & Kirkland used post-tensioned concrete solutions instead of the more traditional reinforced concrete and steel which helped to reduce cost, complexity, the amount of materials used and the number of trades involved.

Robert Gordon University

Students from Robert Gordon University will be working side-by-side with professionals on a regeneration project to breathe life into a former school.

The old Victoria Road School in Torry, Aberdeen will be converted into a sustainable housing development and community learning centre through a collaboration between RGU, the Torry Development Trust and partnership with Grampian Housing Association.

Senior students from multiple disciplines, including architecture and health sciences, will work with the Trust, sharing their time and unique expertise, and the collaboration will have a specific emphasis on ensuring the final result delivers a positive effect on health and wellbeing.

Professor Elizabeth Hancock, vice-principal for academic development and student experience, comments: “RGU has a strong focus on collaborations that enhance the community, our staff and students and our partners. We are delighted to work with the Torry Development Trust in this significant and innovative project.”

Lancaster University

The highly-anticipated multi-million pound sports hall at Lancaster University is not only helping to provide health benefits to students and the local community, but jobs and training too.
The 1,347m2 hall, which is an extension of the university’s existing sports facilities, was delivered by Conlon Construction who have become the first contractor in the region to complete Lancaster City Council’s Employment and Skills Plan (ESP).

The programme is designed to ensure that local people are given useful education and training opportunities and this project provided 10 weeks of work placement to six students from local colleges, 257 weeks of on-site training to apprentices, trainees and new entrants, and helped learners achieve a total of 16 qualifications and certifications. Two full-time jobs with Conlon Construction have also been created via the National Skills Academy for Construction.

The new sports hall houses a variety of full-size sports courts, including a basketball court and eight badminton courts, as well as retractable seating for more than 500 people.

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