Nottingham University, UK
The past 14 years of hard use by the students and the general public, have left their mark on Nottingham University’s Jubilee Campus but it has risen to the challenge. It was opened in 1999 as the first phase of a development which now extends to 65 acres and includes state-of-the-art facilities like the University of Nottingham Innovation Park.
During the project’s construction, lead architect, Jan Mackie of Michael Hopkins and Partners commented:
“We chose galvanized steel over stainless steel because we wanted a material with low embodied energy, which was environmentally friendly.”
Jan’s original aspirations have come to fruition in that, more than a decade and a half later, both the design concept and material choice are faring well. The cedar has matured and portrays a rich texture alongside the patinated galvanized steel that frames it. Although not immediately obvious, the presence of gently weathered galvanized steel is also evident in many other areas throughout the campus.
The unusual shapes of the circular learning resource centre and tiered lecture halls, which appear to float in the atrium of the central teaching building, proclaim their importance. Halls of residence have more privacy; those for undergraduates adopt a traditional courtyard layout, while the postgraduate residence is crescent shaped.
Walking around the campus, it is easy to understand why the University campus has won numerous awards for its environmentally-friendly features.
When constructed, Jubilee Campus coincided with Nottingham University’s Centennial Jubilee. The unique, freestanding circular learning resource centre and conical lecture halls made full use of their lakeside setting. The design included a sophisticated natural ventilation system for its time.Alongside its very strong sustainability credentials, Jubilee Campus created a variety of new spaces for the students. The large glass and galvanized steel atrium continues to provide a light, open space that is used as a dining and recreational meeting point.
Images © Simon Congdon.
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