Places & spaces: November 2020

Julian Owen rounds up the most impressive and significant new construction projects on and around UK campuses

Nottingham Trent University

Work is under way on a £15m state-of-the-art healthcare training facility at Nottingham Trent University.

Built by Henry Brothers Midlands, the 34,000ft2 ‘mock hospital’ will serve as a three-storey home for NTU’s Institute of Health & Allied Professions. Slated to be completed by January 2022, the venture will see two floors occupied by offices and flexible teaching spaces, with a third given over to simulating a broad range of healthcare environments.

“The facilities in this cutting-edge new building will enable us to recreate a ward setting, or a person’s home environment, so students can practise and apply the skills they are learning in a safe way and in a realistic context, as well as creating scenarios for students that may be rare in a real-world situation,” said Dr Anne Felton, head of the Institute of Health & Allied Professions.

University of Edinburgh

As comfortable and unfussy as a Saga Norén sweater, the University of Edinburgh is helping insulate its students against the coming cold by opening a hot drinks-serving Scandinavian-style lodge. The building is one of a number of covered structures being assembled by the institution in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, compensating for the greatly reduced hospitality space in the main university buildings.

“This has been an incredibly challenging year for students and we want to give those arriving with us this semester the best experience possible, while also ensuring their safety and the safety of the wider Edinburgh community,” said Professor Colm Harmon, vice-principal students at the university.

“I am thrilled that we are able to offer our students these welcoming, covered areas to enjoy when they are on campus this year.

We felt that it was important to provide them with space in which they can safely relax and chat with friends in-between classes.”

University of Chicago

A new 4000m² home for the University of Chicago Booth School of Business has been completed in the heart of London’s financial district. Designed by astudio, the European campus building will be used for teaching the institution’s executive MBA programme, as well as non-degree executive education courses.

Access to natural light is prioritised throughout the building, nowhere more so than the staggered internal staircase enabling sunlight to disseminate throughout the three floors, and linking together classrooms, meeting rooms, and hospitality and administrative spaces.

“Throughout the project, we sought to provide an inspiring, tailored and cutting-edge space for the education and development of Chicago Booth students, and where alumni, too, can feel at home,” said astudio’s co-founder and CEO, Richard Hyams. “The result is a campus that blends the history of Chicago Booth with dynamic modern design to establish an inspiring home for future leaders.”

Teesside University

Designed to place wellbeing at the heart of its Middlesbrough campus, Teesside University’s £10.9m Student Life Building is the airily striking result of a consultation with staff and students, conducted as part of the institution’s 10-year Masterplan and Estates Strategy.

Built by Willmott Dixon and opened in January this year, the 2,825m² development looks to overcome the stigma associated with mental health issues by blurring the distinction between learning and support spaces, removing the barriers which may discourage students from seeking help.

In a bid to provide a mixture of areas facilitating both group work and more contemplative study, FaulknerBrowns Architects’ design sees open learning and catering spaces on the ground floor give way to quieter, private spaces higher up. These include a series of timber-clad pods offering the kind of calm, quiet environments that are invaluable to autistic students.

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