Working in partnership with the London College of Accountancy, University of Bolton (UoB) Manchester selected ADT Workplace to design and build its new campus at Manchester Science Park. Situated on Oxford Road, the campus is in one of the most vibrant, dynamic and thriving communities of innovators and entrepreneurs in the city, providing the perfect place for students to learn and start their careers. ADT Workplace completed the fitout of the 26,000 sq.ft space over a 14 week programme, working alongside The Workplace Consultants and landlord, Bruntwood Sci Tech.
Design and build vision
Recent years have highlighted how important connection and interaction is to the overall university experience, with such an important part of the student journey being impacted by the pandemic. This new space needed to reignite and empower students and tutors, by delivering a hub of activity and life made up of the key components that are fundamental to their journey – study and learning, health and wellbeing, and socialising.
Students expect education institutions to function like businesses, demanding convenience, personalisation, and quality. There is also an expectation that learning will be entertaining, immersive, purpose-driven, and experiential, and offer both traditional face-to-face and online learning opportunities, so the design needed to carefully consider all of this. Future university trends were also taken into consideration to ensure the longevity of the campus.
Split over two floors of Bruntwood Sci Tech’s new building, Base, the new facility offers a series of connected areas for students and university colleagues to meet, socialise, collaborate and learn. There are few corridors, barriers or segregated areas, instead a series of fluid spaces that are designed to promote social interaction and chance encounters, and best support the people who use them, no matter what the task.
Cellular spaces are minimised to classrooms and key offices in order to promote an open environment. Table layout, lighting and tech were prioritised in these areas to create a focused and productive learning environment, as well as offering floor to ceiling windows, which boost natural light, helping to increase focus, mood and wellbeing for students. The classrooms themselves are surrounded by comfortable places for students to wait for lectures or even work throughout the day.
Visitors arrive into the reception area, a warm, welcoming and familiar space that encourages users to explore intuitively. A mixture of soft seating areas for both solo and group working as well as dedicated desks surround a large open reception counter, ensuring visibility throughout. Multifunctional breakout zones are also located throughout both floors, with circular features intrinsic to the design to encourage connection, community and conversation between students.
Central to all university spaces is the library, which provides students with a dedicated area for focused, quiet work. This space promotes a calm feel through the use of materials, lighting zones and ergonomic furniture, and has also been designed with future generations in mind, by supporting students through a digital library.
Throughout the space, playful and bold signage plays an important role in creating a sense of identity and enhancing user experience. Large floor and wall graphics, coloured way-finding, screen signage, and clear numbering cater to the different ways people absorb information, and create key reference points in the building, helping students and staff to easily orient themselves. The use of acoustic baffles and panelling, acoustic backed flooring in specific areas, and the incorporation of textiles throughout the space ensure acoustic comfort for the 300+ students who will be using the space.
Reflecting the university’s commitment to creating an inclusive space which prioritises students’ health and wellbeing, multi-faith and wellbeing rooms are located on both floors. Complete with comfortable furniture and curated mood lighting these spaces offer students a relaxing place to unwind from academic stress, to help them reset and perform at their maximum ability.
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