Student Services Building, Arts University Bournemouth

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Location: Wallisdown, Poole, UK

Client: Stuart Bartholomew, Principal & Vice-Chancellor, Arts University Bournemouth

Project Year: 2015

Cost: Over £2m

The Arts University Bournemouth is a leading institution offering high quality specialist education in art, design, media and performance. This scheme is an initial phase of a masterplan for the development and expansion of the Wallisdown campus, supporting the future aspirations of the institution.

One of the University’s key strategic objectives is to improve the experience for existing and future students in terms of the university’s offer of support services by improving the quality, size, appearance and accessibility of the current buildings and spaces. Previous studies have shown that students at AUB utilize support services more than the average compared to other universities. A suite of new buildings provides improved and expanded facilities for the AUB Student Services, Student Union, and Facilities Management departments, providing greater capacity to the established and well staffed operations delivering these services.

The site along the eastern site boundary of the campus is both discreet from the main campus centre, and yet on a high footfall route, so accessible to all students. The masterplan identified that the campus edge is poorly defined from this approach, and so the proposal, in particular the large canopy over the road serves to signify a route onto the campus entrance from this direction. The external landscaping re-organises goods loading positions and opens up the new and existing building entrances to the pedestrian realm, ensuring compliant level access to all buildings.

The new scheme design necessarily included the strip-out and incorporation of an existing two storey structure, which is now completely enveloped in the longer two-storey brick-clad new buildings, which are positioned either side of a shared entry foyer and circulation space. These buildings provide improved reception areas, new staff offices and meeting spaces, including dedicated consultation and counselling rooms, and a GP surgery space.

The external canopy identifies these building entrances, and links all the new brick volumes together with a smaller single storey addition across the road, which itself is linked to an existing building and houses extended facilities for campus services staff and post room areas.

The brickwork cladding and aluminium facades have been detailed to appear both contemporary and also integrate with existing buildings on the site. The construction system uses an innovative form of insulated concrete formwork, which together with triple-glazed facades, and bespoke mechanical and environmental systems, are designed to target ‘Passivhaus’ environmental performance standards, producing a highly insulated and air-tight building envelope that minimises the building’s energy consumption and running costs in use.

Internal structure and finishes have been optimised for acoustic control, and care has been taken to select furniture and specify colours and fabric finishes that create a suitable sense of comfort and coherence to the building interiors that supports the atmosphere of communication and counselling which was at the heart of the client’s brief for the project.

Winner of 2016 RIBA South West Award.

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AUB Student Services entrance canopy

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AUB Student Services brick facade detail

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AUB Student Services main entrance