Back to uni: world class engineering for education
It’s an exciting time for university students and estates managers alike. As the latest cohort take the leap into student life, we take a look at some of the best examples of campus and university building design our higher education experts have been working on.
Creating world class student accommodation
In the US, our experts are part of creating some of the world’s best university campuses, including Cornell Tech in New York City where we’ve recently completed ‘The House’, the world’s tallest and largest residential Passive House certified building that has also achieved LEED Platinum certification. We provided multidisciplinary engineering services to achieve Passive House, a rigorous international building standard that results in dramatically reduced energy consumption and operational energy savings while providing superior comfort and indoor air quality. On the same campus, we are also engineering the Executive Education Center, which is set to become a leading technology venue. It will act as a hub of activity on campus, serving Cornell Tech as well as the technology and business communities in New York City.
The House at Cornell Tech is part of the campus’ urban island neighborhood of new buildings totaling more than 2.1 million ft² of space
Enriching the student experience was also an important consideration for the University of Roehampton. Where our engineers recently provided structural engineering consultancy for the planning submission and pre-contract stages of the RIBA Stirling Prize shortlisted Chadwick Hall, comprising 210 high quality en-suite student bedrooms, delivered across three intelligently designed buildings.
Improving and expanding educational spaces
Refurbishing dated university buildings is also a key factor in improving student satisfaction and wellbeing. Our higher education team been involved in several high profile refurbishments, including the David Attenborough Building at Cambridge University, and the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London.
The prestigious UCL Bartlett School of Architecture needed to increase capacity within the existing footprint of its historic home at 22 Gordon Street. This presented our team with the challenge of finding a way to extend the building so that it could accommodate more students, without causing a negative impact on the surrounding Bloomsbury Conservation Area. We collaborated with the local planning and conservation authorities to realise a design that increased the area of each floor and added two storeys to the top of the buildings, resulting in 120% more usable interior space within the existing footprint.
A particular area of expertise for our team is engineering science and technology buildings, all of which have additional engineering demands. Take the Michael Uren building at Imperial College London, this new research hub will provide cutting edge facilities enabling a range of experts to work together to address the most critical biomedical and healthcare problems of our age. As with Cornell Tech, the integration of business into an academic building is key to translating research into financially viable solutions.
In an increasingly competitive education landscape, our engineering has helped a number of universities and private schools achieve a competitive advantage, accommodating ambitious growth plans. We have also undertaken an extensive piece of research, called ‘Universities Challenged’ to inform our designs, which has revealed some quite unexpected insights, you can download the first part of the research directly from our website.
Researching the effects of campus design on student wellbeing
Good mental health matters. This is the message that is increasingly being heard, and listened to, by governments, employers, teachers and universities. Amongst the most high profile examples relating to this issue are university students.
BuroHappold playing our part in improving student wellbeing. In addition to providing engineering and consultancy, we’ve hosted a series of design sprints bringing architects, academics, students, and politicians together with the aim of better understanding the effects of campus design on student wellbeing. With increased rates of student mental health issues, this is a vital factor in ensuring that university assets do not just look function and look impressive, but they play their part in helping improve student mental health.
Highlights from the sprint included: ambitious plans to link university and city with a ‘skyline (bottom left) and designing spaces within buildings for social interactions (top left)
So, whether you’re an estates manager looking to improve your existing university buildings, or considering the layout of a brand new campus, our experts have the experience to shape student experience and ensure your institution is top of the class.