Space for expansion on the King Alfred’s Campus at the University of Winchester is very restricted and the steep sloping site presents many challenges for accessibility, design and construction. This project involved the creation of a dynamic new double-height atrium space at the heart of a historic 19th century building and the provision of more flexible teaching space, meeting rooms and new toilets.
The budget to achieve the University’s design and sustainability aspirations was very constrained and the adjacent offices and learning facilities had to remain in operation throughout. The design of the atrium space had to be flexible for possible alternative uses and create a spectacular feature for the staff in the centre of the University’s main building.
Evolution5 was appointed to manage the budget for the project following a process of competitive tendering. This was the consultancy’s first scheme for the University. The cost management team worked closely with the architects to achieve the project’s design objectives within the available budget.
The development involved the removal of a temporary prefabricated building and enclosing a courtyard space with a full height atrium to provide a new senior common room that could be used as a function room and circulation space. The scheme also provided more flexible teaching accommodation.
The courtyard structure supports a flat roof with striking ‘prism’ roof lights to maximise day light and natural ventilation. The distinctive light ‘spikes’ in the roof reach up to catch low sunlight and transfer it to tapered prisms in the ceiling. At night, the process is reversed and LED lights illuminate the prisms and spikes with colour-changing light from within.
Despite the budget constraints, this scheme exceeded the carbon emissions rate required by Building Regulations Part L2A by 17 per cent which was a significant achievement for the project team.
Refurbishment schemes are always challenging as it is often hard to predict what issues will arise until work starts on site. Here, the team had to work alongside a fully occupied building and had to link in with an existing heating system and other services.
The University was kept fully up-to-date with the anticipated final cost.
Evolution5 had a close and positive working relationship with the architects and main contractor. This helped to keep any disruption to teaching and staff to a minimum, whilst achieving the required quality standards.
The scheme has brought a redundant courtyard back into use, and has enhanced and revitalised the appearance of the historic 1860s main university building, ensuring its sustainability long into the future.
The project was shortlisted for an RICS award.
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