EbeneMagazine – AU – Buildings that inspire: Prize winners and runner-up


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Aston University has replaced a tired student union building with multipurpose rooms bathed in natural light

Aston University students rarely chose to spend time in their old fraternity, housed in a shabby 1960s building, unless they ran a society or sought advice.

Many commented on the National Student Survey that it was an aspect of their university that urgently needed to be changed.

Now change it has. The old building was demolished and in its place is a two-story steel-framed building with natural light coming through the glass walls, a double-height reception desk, a café, a bar and a restaurant, pool tables, game consoles and a giant beanbag chair, large screens and many students hang around.

The new building, which was completed in February 2019, allows them to do many other things. It has its own prayer room, laundry facilities, a kitchen for commuter students to cook or reheat food, and a bespoke room for older students with desktop computers and lockers.

Multi-purpose rooms support clubs and societies, while a mirrored dance studio with a feather floor becomes an audit room during the exam season.

Student involvement in the project designed by architects Robothams and builders Clegg Construction was key to ensuring that the new building met the needs of a larger, more diverse, and more modern student body.

Student union representatives met monthly as part of a project team with university staff, architects and contractors. A 3D visualization of the room was made available to other students on YouTube, and regular updates about the building were posted on social media. Students were also able to suggest items to be placed in a time capsule buried on site.

The building reflects the importance of sustainability and inclusivity for students. It is made from sustainable wood and has a low-carbon heating system that draws energy from more than 100 solar panels. All toilets are gender neutral.

The building was opened in May 2019 by Sir Dominic Cadbury, brother of the late Sir Adrian Cadbury, who was 250. £ 000 left in his will for the cost of £ 9. 5m project.

Upon opening, the Student Union jumped to third place from a 22-person list of campus services reviewed by students. There was also a significant increase in satisfaction in the NSS 2019.

It’s not just students who use the building either. It hosted BBC Radio Four Question Time, conducted public talks and debates for the IKON gallery in Birmingham, and served as the venue for the National Citizen Service and as a backdrop for BBC interviews.

Despite its global reputation, the London School of Economics (LSE) has never had a landmark. It’s a jumble of inflexible and inefficient buildings near the beach and the Royal Courts of Justice. There is no place to go for students or academics and few places to linger. In 2004-2005, 57% of the LSE’s estate was in the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ two worst categories for condition and functionality.

The new LSE Center building therefore had to offer the university a focus and more practical space. However, the logistics of building a large building in a historic part of central London were not easy.

A single access point, party wall and right to light considerations, a restricted location, and the need to work closely with Westminster City Council to mitigate noise, dust, and vibration in a heavily built-up and historically important building area presented challenges.

Acoustic screens were built to reduce noise, and much of the construction was done off site. This made the program one of the highest considerate contractor values ​​in the country in 2017 and 2018. The total investment in the site was 125 million. GBP 78 million of which. GBP were spent on construction.

The final 13-story building – tallest and largest on campus – was designed by London-based international architect Rogers Stirk Harbor Partners and supplied by consulting and construction company Mace.

It houses five academic departments, a learning center where students can study and socialize, four lecture halls, more than a dozen seminar rooms, three roof terraces, study areas and a new center for alumni.

An academic star cuts diagonally across the facade in a series of double-height glazed rooms to encourage dialogue between departments, institutes and research centers, and to provide additional informal areas for students and staff from different departments to interact.

More than 70% of the building depends on natural ventilation. It also harvests rainwater and uses a biomass boiler and solar energy.

The most important feature, however, is a new public space that gives the university a physical heart and greatly improves the way students and staff interact with one another and with their community.

In the coming months, art will be exhibited in public spaces, markets, festivals and graduation balls will be held and, as the university expects, a basis will be created for student demonstrations.

Kingston University wanted to create a building that reflected the importance of its civic role in Kingston upon Thames.

It had to be a welcoming environment with opportunities for collaboration between the university and local residents and businesses. It also had to provide a library, dance studios, a studio theater and flexible study rooms for students.

In addition, it had to be flashy enough to provide a formidable physical symbol of shared learning and community. Half of Kingston’s students are first in their families to attend university, and the university wanted to use architecture to make students feel like they belonged to them.

The university has therefore started a competition for a suitable design with the Royal Institute of British Architects.

It chose Grafton Architects from Dublin, who have since received the RIBA gold medal for architecture and who launched the 2018 Venice Biennale. Members of the competition jury were called in to make decisions during the construction process, while Willmott Dixon was tasked with executing the construction.

The result is the Town House, a six-story building weighing several million pounds that includes a covered courtyard, two cafes, and a series of outdoor balconies and walkways, culminating in a rooftop garden with views over Kingston and the Thames to Hampton Court. An open staircase winds through the building, and an outside colonnade provides an accessible area where students, staff, and the community can mingle and be drawn in.

While more than half of the space is open, secluded corners allow private learning and group work. Sliding walls provide a flexible space on the ground floor with benches that can be used for a theater or lecture audience or more informally. The building is also accessible for wheelchair users.

It opened in January 2020 and it posted more than 5 on day one. 000 visits. The number of users of the building has remained as high as the praise.

Student, Sheffield Hallam University, Second, Course

LevelMagazine – AU – Buildings That Inspire: Award Winner and Runner-Up
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Aston University named Guardian& University of the Year

Ref: https://www.theguardian.com


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