West Downs Campus – University of Winchester

Winchester, SO22
University of Winchester
Design Engine
Quantity Surveyor
Jackson Coles
Education and Public Sector

Project Scope

  • Curtain walling
  • Aluminium windows and doors
  • Aluminium rainscreen cladding
  • GRC cladding
  • Corten brise soleil and cladding
  • Architectural metalwork

Sitting at a gateway location to the City of Winchester, the new teaching building sits within the University’s West Downs Campus, nestling alongside the 18th century Grade-II listed business school.  This impressive addition to the University’s portfolio now provides state-of-the-art facilities and a new learning space to meet the changing demands of higher education.

Key Challenges

  • Multiple façade treatments with complex interfacing
  • Stringent performance criteria meshed with demanding visual aesthetics
  • Bespoke Corten steel brise soleil and cladding
  • Complex site constraints and logistical strategy

The Brief

Working closely with main contractor Osborne over a period, the new build scheme needed early involvement to ensure the architectural intent could be delivered inside the cost constraints set out by the Client.  Working carefully through the process, Colorminium were taken through a 2-stage procurement process ahead of being engaged to commence design works alongside the frame and M&E contractor.

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 and varied performance criteria, the multiple 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.

Our Approach

Working on a stage E design, the various façade aspects were reviewed, and a detailed proposal was put together.  Careful examination of the façade challenges was required such as structural steel penetrations to support the brise soleil, to ensure that the costed proposal put forward would actually meet the demands of the project.

Working from the structure out, Colorminium was responsible for all the glazed elements, aluminium and GRC cladding and Corten steel.  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 is 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 Result

The University of Winchester’s landmark learning and teaching building at its West Downs Quarter has now been formally handed over to the University by main contractor Osborne, just over two years after the groundbreaking ceremony in January 2018. 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.


Video Credits: University of Winchester

Project video