Building Services Engineers: Grontmij
Quantity Surveyors: Jackson Coles
Specification Writer: John Ahern
Landscape Consultants: Creating Place
Text description provided by the architects. The University of Winchester’s brief was to initially provide 8 teaching spaces within a new building for approximately 600 students. The site with an existing 1920’s exam hall, was adjacent to an existing 1970‘s teaching building which had to remain partially operational during construction. Phase 2 of the works, converted a further two lecture spaces to the existing building and provided two additional lecture rooms and open learning space as part of a rooftop extension. As part of the University’s aspiration to drive higher standards of excellence for studying and the student experience, the building was set to achieve BREEAM excellent from the outset of the project. This has seen innovative technology and design used to harness and control passive environmental factors to give a more comfortable and controllable space, thus aid teaching and wellbeing as well as the obvious environmental benefits of natural light, natural ventilation and reduced energy consumption. As well as providing excellent teaching rooms, particular attention was given to the external areas between campus buildings, which form a critical social space and important frontage for the University of Winchester.
The University have a good relationship with the Local Planning Authority who were keen to see the University develop it’s existing building stock. The site is a fringe site, that has a prominent elevated position on the site open to green space viewed by neighboring residential areas. Parallel to this, a response to the road frontage addressing the University’s ‘entrance’ was also a driving factor in the architectural response to the brief, which now includes a bespoke hanging Artwork signifying one’s arrival at the University. Community involvement and participation was engaged early on, with a warm response to initial ideas and dialogue. Design Engine worked with the Local Planning Authority, and delivered a site specific response, which presents a subtle and recessive building sympathetic to it’s context, but also provides intrigue and drama in focused areas.
The building uses a simple palette of materials. Externally the building uses a rain-screen fibre cement board with low embodied energy, a continuous dark grey louvre system for natural ventilation, and dark grey aluminium curtain walling system. The dark, recessive envelope of the building, is layered with naturally finished larch timber brise-soliel blades hung from cassettes within an overhanging colonnade structure to the south. The main, east frontage of the building provides an open air covered area for seating and gathering. A white rendered wall forms the backdrop to this area, with a large multi-layered permanent hanging artwork forming a permeable and three dimensional lattice to the facade.
Method of Construction
The building is constructed with a primary steel frame and block work walls. A highly insulated rain screen cladding is fixed to the structure to form the finished building envelope. The building uses exposed pre-cast concrete planks for the floors and roof, which use a piped method of cooling to assist with the overall heating and cooling system for the building. The plank pipework is linked directly to the Air Source Heat Pump and the building management system for individual control of classroom environments by use of secure/remote University Ipad interface.
Design Engine were commissioned by the University of Winchester for the main Learning and Teaching Building in May 2011. The contract period was 50 weeks and completed in September 2012.
The project was procured under a JCT Design and Build 2011 contract with Design Engine novated to the contractor and retained as Design Guardian by the commissioning client. Work began on site in August 2011 with the new building completed in September 2012. The second phase (Overcladding and refurbishment of the existing St.Edburga building) completed in January 2013. Despite facing an incredibly tight (and at times optimistic) timeframe, the new¡ classrooms were opened on time and were fully booked for the start of term September 2012.
The client was keen to achieve best value through whole life costing so particular care was taken in selecting robust materials for the exterior and interior of the building. Lecture spaces use exposed block-work as a cost saving and robust approach to the design brief. Internally, fibre cement board is used both internally and externally to provide a continuous architectural language, but also provides a durable and replaceable material. Contrasting this, birch faced ply has been used to signify thresholds into teaching spaces.