Following a reorganisation of the university that created five new ‘schools’ from a former department system, we were appointed to create five new entrance buildings – foyers – that could act as front-of-house to each. The designs were founded on a palette of materials and forms that echoed, yet contrasted, with the Basil Spence architecture of the 60’s.
The first in the series, the Sussex Institute, was designed to link two separate buildings; a new double height foyer, conceived as a folded, aluminium clad plane, cedar lined internally, provides a ‘gateway’ into the school. This links directly to a new steel framed loggia structure, wrapping around two sides, to create a semi-enclosed court that links the two blocks housing the Institute.
The building uses a passive environmental approach. Large areas of glazing appear under natural shading of the building itself, and no artificial ventilation or air-conditioning is provided. Instead, the building relies on orientation of glazing, cross ventilation and user controls with simple strategies as opening ventilation panels.