Location: Ayr, Scotland
Project Manager: Gardiner & Theobald
Client: University of the West of Scotland
Size: 17,835 sqm GFA
Project Years: 2009 – 2011
Cost: £81 million
Photographer: Keith Hunter
Ayr Campus, University of the West of Scotland and Scottish Agricultural College.
The Scottish studio of international architecture practice,RMJM has designed one of the UK’s most modern, environmentally friendly and sustainable Higher Education learning environments. The new £72 million Ayr Campus development is home to the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) and the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC). The campus was officially launched on 24 January 2012.It is a key project in the UWS’ £200 million development plan.
“Building on our reputation for excellence and our successes in learning, teaching, research and knowledge transfer will depend on the development of a 21st century environment across all campuses, and our £200 million investment programme aims to do just that. I am delighted with the work of everyone who has worked on this project – what we’ve achieved is a landmark building for Higher Education and one that we can all rightly be proud of.” Professor Seamus McDaid CBE, Principal and Vice-Chancellor.
The building has achieved a BREEAM “Excellent” rating for Bespoke Design & Procurement and is on track to retain this rating at the Post-Construction stage. The project was developed in consultation with the Scottish Funding Council, South Ayrshire Council, Natural Garden Society, Historic Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Wildlife Trust, and Architecture and Design Scotland.
It has been a major capital project for University of the West of Scotland, yet has taken just 2 years to construct and was completed well within the allocated budget. The new building is used by over 3,000 students in UWS Schools of Business, Computing, Creating & Cultural Industries, Education, Health, Nursing and Midwifery and on SAC’s Agriculture, Applied Science and Technology, Tourism and Outdoor Pursuits courses.
The inspiration for the design derived from the mature woodland setting, says architect and RMJM director Neil McLean, “The building is designed to be sympathetic to its setting, maximising the internal experience of the building’s users by capturing views back to the landscape.” The client’s input was crucial to the conceptual development as the University actively participated in the design process by setting down key parameters in terms of space and function.
Design & Layout
The landmark building’s design complements the spectacular 28 acre parkland and riverside surroundings and has been carefully constructed to minimise disruption to existing wildlife. All of the academic functions have been consolidated into a single 18,000m2 building, in order to minimise the impact on the mature park setting and maximise efficiency and shared delivery. The building is formed around ‘garden rooms’: two courtyards and an atrium space, which allows the land scape to enter into the building.