Sitting within the University’s West Downs Campus, nestled alongside the 18th century Grade-II listed business school, this impressive addition provides state-of-the-art facilities and a new learning space to meet the changing demands of higher education.
University of Winchester
Early involvement on the scheme was vital, to ensure the architectural intent could be delivered inside the cost constraints set out by the Client.
Signature architects Design Engine came up with a visually stunning design that did justice to the prominent location, and through collaboration with them we helped fully cost and bring the scheme to market. A technically challenging building with high performance criteria, the varying façade types was a key feature used to bring the building to life. A mixture of masonry and glass facades flank the main learning block with projecting Corten brise soleil along the street elevation. At the front of the site, a circular lecture space sits alongside the new library space and gives a dramatic entrance to the campus.
Working on the design from an early stage, the various façade aspects were carefully examined to ensure that the visual intent and cost plan would work together.
With responsibility for the whole envelope design including all the glazed elements, aluminium and GRC cladding and Corten steel, our design process worked from the structure out. To the masonry elevations, we provided the lightweight steel framing to the structural openings for our glazing and in the curtain wall locations, the façade was designed to pass the slab edge giving continuity of weather sealing. The steel brise soleil is supported off a complex extension to the structural frame which passes through the curtain walling. To the circular drum, supporting structure was fixed back to the frame then a render finish was applied and the steel fins installed as a last fix item.
As well as detailed design, a sound approach was needed in producing a methodology that was aligned and in sympathy with the complex palette of materials. We had the constraints of an inner city environment ever present as well as juggling an overlapped programme with key trades such as the structural frame and M&E.
The University of Winchester’s landmark learning and teaching building at its West Downs Quarter is now open to students and staff, and achieves a BREEAM “Excellent” rating. From handling over 80-tons of structural and architectural Corten, to interfacing with a hand-laid flint wall, the architecture boasts some of the most unique products but beautifully meshed together to form another leading innovative building for the University.