The Students Centre project provided exceptional added value by opening up a rather dowdy circulation area in the existing Drysdale building and transforming it into a central hub for students to use as a social space, somewhere to work between lectures, and somewhere to seek assistance and advice.
The scheme provides open plan ‘break-out’ space with wi-fi connections for students on south side; offices for appeals and complaints; facilities for Careers service including reception desk, areas for student research with computer facilities, audio visual facilities, tables, private interview rooms, some office accommodation. Some of the careers facilities can share space with the open plan break out space; facilities for Health Centre and Counselling Service and improved ramp access to the adjacent Centenary Building, making the buildings more accessible
Grouping the student facilities in this area has improved student awareness of services available to them, enhancing their university experience. The careers facility is off the main break out area; at busy times the whole area can become one space by opening the folding glass screen, making the area flexible.
The new spaces are bright and airy; the break out spaces are popular and well used by students. Finishes are high quality and, whilst following the University’s specifications, include some distinctive material elements that are used to define zones within the open plan areas; the main break out space has a curved slatted timber while the second break out area echoes the timber theme with a timber gridded ceiling. Fixed counters provide working areas and modular loose furniture defines more social areas.
The new office spaces link into the University’s improved HVAC system which uses efficient chilled water cooling systems, reducing the energy usage of the building.
This project was chosen to feature in the RIBA HEDQF's Small Budget Big Impact Exhibition 2011, see brochure here.