Places & spaces: July 2020

We take a look at some innovative developments on and around campus in the UK and around the world


Leeds Beckett University has been handed the keys to its stunning new Carnegie School of Sport building. The £45m, state-of-the-art teaching and research building will be a base for undergraduate, postgraduate and research programmes and a hub for the elite athletes who use the university’s sports-performance facilities.

Designed by architects Sheppard Robson and built by construction group Galliford Try, the building will now be fitted out by the university’s own IT services and estates teams before being opened to students and staff. The new 90,000 sq ft centre, located at the university’s Headingley Campus, can hold over 1,600 students and incorporates a covered rooftop 60m sprint track for performance training and analysis, five lecture theatres, around 40 research and teaching laboratories, two environmental chambers for research into performance in extreme environments, supporting both the sports world and the military, and a café.


The University of Sussex’s major new student housing and facilities development.

The University of Sussex has been given the go-ahead for a major new student housing and facilities development.

The development, on the west slope of the university’s Falmer campus, would add around 1,000 student bedrooms, doubling the existing number, as well as community facilities and mixed-use spaces including a new health and wellbeing centre, supermarket, café, additional study space in a new library, and green space.

The new buildings have been designed to “respect and enhance” the vision of the campus’ founding architect, Sir Basil Spence, whose 1962-built Falmer House for the site is Grade I-listed.

Spence was also responsible for rebuilding Coventry Cathedral after it was bombed in the second world war.

The University of Sussex says it expects “minimal work” to take place until further decisions on proceeding with the enabling works are taken “later this year”, with the development then being delivered over a four-year period.


Coventry University’s Wrocław campus

As Poland lifts lockdown restrictions to allow final-year students back to university, Coventry University says it plans to open its new campus in the country this September.

The Wrocław campus will be ready to welcome its first intake in September this year, subject to the Polish government further relaxing Covid-19 rules.

Plans for Coventry University Wrocław were approved by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education last July after a six-month application process. It is the first foreign university in Poland.

The Wrocław campus occupies two floors in the Centrum Południe office complex being developed by the university’s contractors, Skanska.

“This is our first project involving the adaptation of office space for academic use, which we are also carrying out under unique circumstances created by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Anna Życińska-Wójcik, project director.

“We are confident this project will produce a unique combination of friendly and modern spaces adapted to meet the new post-Covid way of working and learning.”


A new, six-storey higher education building in Canada

A wigwam-shaped meeting room sits at the heart of a new, six-storey higher education building in Canada that has been designed to reflect the culture of indigenous peoples.

Designed by architecture firm Dialog, the cross-laminated timber (CLT) building at Centennial College of Applied Arts and Technology will be Canada’s “first-ever mass timber, net-zero carbon, higher-education facility” and provide 150,000 square feet of space for academic rooms and common areas.

It is modelled on the concept of ‘Etuaptmumk’ or ‘Two-Eyed Seeing’, which means bringing together the strengths of both Indigenous and Western knowledge, and is intended “to help support reconciliation with Canada’s First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples,” the team said.

“The design of the building is a poetic response to the pattern of seed, growth, culmination and balance in a continuous cycle.

“The interplay of solid and void in the building massing allude to the drawing back of the skins over a wigwam frame in response to seasonal changes.”

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