Landscaping materials create a contemporary university space

The education sector is no stranger to architectural throwbacks – from 70’s flat roofs to block layouts reflective of 60’s popular architecture – aspirational design hasn’t always been a priority for educational buildings.

But with more evidence emerging to suggest our surroundings are highly influential when it comes to feeling motivated and inspired, universities and other learning institutes are now placing more of a focus on the look, feel and materials used within their environments than ever before.

Nottingham Trent University is no exception. Set in the heart of the Clifton Campus, The Pavilion is a newly launched scheme that has been completed to create a new identity for reform in educational architecture.

Formerly an out-dated 1960’s teaching building within an incoherent space, Nottingham Trent University has invested £13 million into modernising the area to create an holistic space that utilises contemporary building materials, such as waterstruck pavers, to provide synergy amongst an eclectic surrounding.

Acting as a social hub, the state-of-the-art space, known as Heart of Campus, opened in September this year – building a social heart that has been augmented alongside a new teaching centre to generate a triangular Plaza – defining a much needed focal point on the campus and providing coherence amongst the site’s surroundings.

Flanked by new signature buildings, with a majestic colonnade, the triangular space features geometric banding within its paving to echo the structure and create a strong sense of cohesion between each building and its landscape. This marriage between old and new generates a new sense of identity for the campus’ centre – challenging architectural constraints within the education industry and providing a contemporary, inclusive and aspirational space to inspire and engage a new generation of students.

Using the Wienerberger Rosa Waterstruck clay pavers and Hardscape Kellen Lavaro Wit and Grijs paving, the landscaping of the site works to seamlessly compliment the architecture’s material palette, to achieve the sense of partnership between mediums.

The space is an example of effective design implementation and the smart use of materials that works as a real innovation for the sector.

Covering a total area of 4,174 square metres the architect’s creation has already been awarded with the RIBA National Award 2016, the RIBA East Midlands Award and the East Midlands RICS Regeneration Award – demonstrating the real innovation of the project and its materials.

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