- University of Gloucestershire
- Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
As experienced University Architects, Quattro was appointed by the University of Gloucestershire to convert part of their Teaching Centre into a new studio for the Constructed Environment at the Francis Close Hall Campus in Cheltenham.
The challenge for our Education Architects, was to deliver this exciting new flexible Architectural Centre in line with the requirements of accrediting bodies, such as the RIBA and ARB, to facilitate four new courses within The Constructed Environment Department. This new facility needed to be impressive as well as functional, in order to attract students and staff to study or deliver the new courses on offer. The University’s ambition is to establish a leading centre for undergraduate and postgraduate professional courses in Architecture, Design and Environment that will support the growth of their students, as well as businesses, locally, nationally and internationally.
The project building falls within the Central Cheltenham Conservation area and although the building itself is not listed, it required a sympathetic design approach due to its historic association with listed buildings on the campus such as, the listed Chapel to the south east of the site. Therefore, a detailed statement of historic significance was commissioned to ensure minimal impact on the historic buildings.
The University also wanted to retain the architectural features of the existing building. Therefore, all works needed to be carried out within the building fabric of the existing Teaching Centre. The importance of making the best combination of function and form, whilst balancing the need to make alterations and the retention of the main features,was integral to the design decision making.
Internally, there is a reduced number of new openings for the ventilation louvres and the reuse of the existing door openings allows a more sympathetic design with changes kept to a minimum.
Flexibility is key to the success of this design. The existing IT space is converted into a large multipurpose area for the delivery of the new courses, sharing the large area in a mixture of taught and self-study spaces. An open plan layout for studio and critical spaces, as well as exhibition and lecture spaces, is vital to the academic requirements of the courses. Flexible furniture and moveable screens have also been introduced to allow for the division of spaces if necessary.
A light touch refurbishment allows the retaining existing timber ceiling and ventilation system to be retained.
Externally, two new openings and steps create fire escape routes from the ground floor, in addition to minor external works associated with the services required for the new department.
Resurfacing works to Magnolia Court, located behind the building, help to unify and improve the external area between the campus buildings.
This project was completed on time and to budget.