It’s always rewarding when previous clients return with further design briefs. So when Atkins Global asked Pod Space to tender for a second Exeter University building we jumped at the chance. The new project was to design and construct a bespoke modular building that would sit harmoniously in an existing courtyard raised up on a hillside and flanked by four storey buildings on all sides.
This challenging site meant the new building would need to be constructed off site and craned into position as complete modules. Exeter University had a very specific design brief: create a light, bright and welcoming space that would form a hub for their students. The building must include a cafe, open plan seating area/study space and two separate meeting rooms. Also required was a link connecting the new building to the main university building. Straightaway Pod Space began work on initial architectural designs, working in collaboration with Atkins Global, interior designers of the new building and Willmott Dixon, project managers of the surrounding area redesign.
Being located in an enclosed courtyard, roof lights were an essential part of the new building’s design. To boost productivity and energy levels fully glazed external entrance doors would help fill the space with daylight and offer interesting views of the surrounding courtyard. The building’s many windows were purposefully positioned at desk height to channel natural light directly into study areas.
Our Exeter University clients had a clear vision for the interior look and feel of the building. To create a modern, industrial feel the heating pipework and vents were left exposed. This made the Mechanical and Electrical design critical, not only from a functional perspective but also impacting on the design and layout of the building.
As a busy university, our designers were mindful that wall and floor finishes must reflect the flexible uses of the building and accommodate the high level of traffic both travelling though and using the space. Students would be utilising the space all day – right from breakfast through to late night study sessions.
Industrial styled external cladding was chosen to echo the industrial interior and to continue the design theme the windows and doors were finished in striking grey aluminium.
We are incredibly proud of this inventive learning space and how the final design mirrored our initial client brief, aligned with chosen interior finishes and complemented the surrounding area. Despite the challenge of working within an enclosed courtyard the final building delivers a light and spacious learning space that will help decades of Exeter University students reach their true potential!