The University of East Anglia’s (UEA) Blackdale development, designed by LSI Architects and constructed by R G Carter, has reached completion in time to welcome 514 students to Norwich for the start of the autumn semester. The scheme also includes a large landscaped courtyard a launderette and a café with roof terrace. The two new student residence buildings have been named Hickling House and Barton House.
The project achieves a BREEAM Excellent rating and further supports the UEA’s environmental policies and carbon reduction plans to promote sustainable design. The two new buildings have been delivered to BIM Level 2 including the delivery of an Asset Information Model, with useful data brought together in a useable format for the client for facilities management purposes.
LSI Architects drew on design principles and lessons learned on their previous UEA accommodation project, Crome Court, winner of a 2015 Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Award for its innovative design. The buildings are formed in CLT to reduce the embodied carbon and to enable a rapid form of construction to deliver the project within the programme. The building also utilises the university’s CHP plant, feature PV panels and high insulation levels and water saving installations. The highly sustainable buildings mean that the UEA can look forward to reduced energy and running costs in comparison with other residences.
The Blackdale project provides an attractive new residential quarter for the University which follows a pattern of development that relates to the original campus buildings and also to the local environment. LSI Architects worked closely with UEA to develop design principles that help anchor the new buildings within their surroundings and enhance the campus’ existing sense of place.
Commenting on the design for the new accommodation, Trevor Price Partner at LSI Architects said: “The design for both Hickling House and Barton House takes inspiration from the distinctive shapes of the 1960’s Denys Lasdun Teaching Wall and is a result of close collaboration with a variety of UEA stakeholder groups comprising of staff, students, and UEA project manager, Martin Lovatt, to develop the detailed brief from which the layouts and fitting out requirements of accommodation was produced.”
“The quality of the campus is a key consideration in many students’ decisions in choosing a University,” Trevor added. “These new buildings further enhance the quality of design of student residences at the UEA campus. The standards of sustainability are very high, and this has all been achieved within a challenging budget and to a very fast programme of 22 months from concept to completion.”
Grant Keys, Director and General Manager at R G Carter, said: “The challenges that faced the project team on this project were not insignificant. To have delivered the project on time, within budget and to such a high standard of design and construction is something that the whole team can be very proud of. This development has proven that when client, designers and contractors work together, any challenge can be overcome and great things can be achieved.”
Architecture plays a key role in the overall aesthetic of the UEA campus. The Ziggurat accommodation blocks are Grade II* listed and The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts was designed by Lord Foster (also listed), noted for his high-tech architecture. The Blackdale development is clad with pale grey panels, chosen to complement the concrete structures of the original campus, and eye catching gold accent cladding on key views, which encloses a bright, airy central courtyard with the angled windows projecting from the facade to add visual interest and channel light into the building.
Norwich City Council planning department set clear parameters for the design principles and how the scheme could be set within the local context. Issues of scale, massing, the setting up of key views and problems associated with overlooking were a few of the important architectural design matters considered and planned using 3-dimensional modelling. Out of this process, a pattern of development emerged that has a strong relationship with the original campus building and local environment.