Heath, Exercise and Biosciences facility
Conceived in 2 phases to meet a programmatically challenging brief; this project has a strong street presence- with a key location at the entry into the East Park of the university.
The brief is interesting; accommodating a handful of lecture spaces to serve the general student population on one hand; and to house analytical & exercise laboratories, sprint tracks, submersion tanks, climatic chambers and offices for 5 separate sports departments on the other. Here numerous tests are conducted with 'human lab-rats' under extreme conditions in name of sporting excellence and science.
The structure is a simple concrete frame with exposed concrete flat slabs to exploit the thermal mass. The ends facing the main highway and the triangular courtyard are signified as curved walls with zinc cladding. The rest of the building is cladded with Kalwall translucent system to maximise the amount of diffused daylight and to maintain a simple poetic 'shoji-module' order through the building.
ETFE cushion roof brings in natural light into the main central atrium space where the open-plan PHD offices are located as a central think-tank to the organization of the complex.
Four main services riser walls are expressed as solitary shafts rising to 3-storey in height-wrapped with acoustic panelling to add texture, colour into the interiors whilst providing the acoustic buffer necessary. The main plant room- a box simply cladded with dark grey metal louvers serves as a visual and formal transition between the new HEBs building and its neighbouring Sports Hall.
The organizing principle is simple: main spaces like lecture rooms and laboratories are pushed to edge of each wing- whilst the supporting spaces like offices, stores, risers and wcs are relegated into a buffer zone between that of the atrium and the main spaces.
A student bar is located near the entrance with a slot view puncturing one of the curved zinc ends- towards the triangular courtyard. Main entry in to the building is via a series of sliding doors opening into this courtyard with informal landscape seating for the students.
Vivian was part of the project team at David Morley Architects, London
Content courtesy of David Morley Architects.