Rising ten storeys, the Cockcroft Building is the most prominent building on the University of Brighton’s Moulescomb Campus, providing 15,000m2 of mixed-use academic space within its concrete-framed structure. Though structurally sound its complex infrastructure had reached the end of its design life.
FBM were appointed as architect and lead consultant and early considerations to demolish the building where soon dismissed in favour of a sustainable, retrofit and refurbishment approach - a reduction in CO2 emissions being a strategic driver for the project. Through retrofitting we transformed the quality of the interior space to provide a state-of-the-art learning environment boasting improved energy efficiency and reduced maintenance costs.
The upper eight floors make up the first phase of the project; the seventh and eight floors having just been completed. Four floors will provide specialist teaching space for 1,124 staff and students within the Faculty of Science and Engineering. The other floors will provide office and meeting space for 561 academics and researchers. The new teaching accommodation has been designed to provide a high quality, technologically rich, flexible space that will meet the needs of the future. The new space will provide a suite of ‘learning labs’ which, unlike traditional lecture theatres, will allow both didactic and collaborative learning.
Each lab has been designed as a ‘destination’ forming part of the student experience. Working closely with AV and IT specialists, we have proposed individual tablet devices rather than desktop or built-in technology, with power provided within the worktops, supplemented by AV, project-on and write-on-walls. Offices will be set around the perimeter each floor, maximising natural ventilation and daylight, with ancillary accommodation such as meeting rooms and photocopying booths, social learning zones and informal meeting spaces co-located centrally.
This ‘hub’ concept provides a social heart to each office floor and school, encouraging interaction between staff and students.