ABW have developed & executed final proposals for a new Technology Hub at Edge Hill University. The building is to house a variety of teaching spaces and specialist labs for computing and science courses.
The site sits at the edge of the University Campus within a Conservation area with housing to either side, and mature planting all around. Whilst at the periphery of the campus, the site overlooks an important route into the site that is heavily used by students.
The approach has been to align teaching spaces either side of a central circulation route with an entrance facing into the Campus rather than out onto the street. The circulation is clear and legible. We have located a 3 storey linear bock of teaching accommodation along the west side overlooking an avenue of lime trees. With reduced solar gain and light levels owing to the deciduous canopy, the outlook into the canopy from these spaces will be excellent.
The East side of the building has been broken down into two stepped blocks that both reduce the sense of scale of the building and allow rooms views into courtyard spaces rather than overlooking the site boundary. The main bulk of the building is also pulled as far as possible from the boundary. Staff accommodation on the second floor is moved back from the edge of the building to allow the block to read primarily as two storey structures.
Using the form of the roof over the circulation allows daylight and vent to be introduced at high level, again avoiding the need to overlook houses and gardens.
Internally we envisage large areas of transparent walls that will allow activities to be seen and encourage interaction. From our understanding of the brief we would hope that the design of the building will encourage ideas to be shared and new opportunities realised.
We see this building as part of a group that define the route into the Campus. Bearing in mind the conservation area, we are suggesting that the Tech Hub building has two faces, a softer approach of a lower fragmented Eastside of brick and a more contemporary West façade that will have a visual connection to the nearby Faculty of Business and Law. Sufficient space has been retained between the façade and the boundary to increase the density of buffer planting to the benefit of both the University and neighbours.