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|Bath, United Kingdom
|University of Bath
The renowned School of Management at the University of Bath wanted a new home to bring their dispersed departments into a single building, which would form a new gateway building for the campus, signalling the importance of the School within the University. In 2017 Hopkins Architects were selected to help the School formulate the brief and develop the design of the new centre. Completed in 2021 (?) the building has facilitated better interaction between faculty, staff, industry and students and enabled the University to teach differently.
The new School and public realm create a landmark entrance to the campus and the parkland beyond. The building comprises two primary elements: an L-shape block wrapped around a central open-plan space facing out to the park. Above ground, the L-shaped block contains a variety of academic and research spaces. Each wing of the building has been further broken down into two smaller pieces, or ‘clusters’, which relate to the individual departments, or ‘research peaks’, within the School of Management.
Within these are ‘Faculty Clusters’, hubs which encourage better engagement and collaboration between users, through increased visibility and awareness of the faculty and the provision of a variety of spatial typologies for different tasks. As originally designed, in each a ring of individual faculty offices forms around a central double-height open plan space, containing adjuncts and PhD researchers. Thus the space accommodates the differing needs of each kind of researcher. While this space is acoustically separated from the main building, to enable focused working, it remains visually connected to adjacent ‘clusters’ and the student commons below. Nearby breakout spaces are provided in circulation areas to enable one-to-one reviews with students or facilitate chance encounters between faculty members.
The central double-height atrium acts as the ‘front of house’ social and collaborative heart of the building, with ‘live, work, play’ zones for students, allowing them to move between group work, quiet work, café catering and relaxing throughout the day. This student commons area fosters a strong sense of community among students, faculty and visitors. Behind this, eight lecture theatres and a 250 seat conference theatre provide a range of teaching environments.