Date posted: April 22, 2016
Plans for a new Advanced Technology Block for Eastleigh College have been given the green light, receiving unanimous planning approval from Eastleigh Borough Council. The project is the second phase of new development designed by ArchitecturePLB (phase 1, the Arts and Hair & Beauty building is currently on site). The buildings form part of a college wide improvement strategy which puts technology at the heart of the college and creates a single campus to enhance the student experience. The new building will house specialist teaching of engineering and IT subjects while encouraging collaborative working.
ArchitecturePLB’s approach was to design a straightforward, robust, efficient building that is flexible and adaptable for the long term. The teaching spaces have been designed on a formal grid to provide a robust shell, within which the College can expand and contract as necessary.
The technology block was initially proposed to be located on the College’s Desborough Road campus, but by proposing to locate the new building on the main campus, ArchitecturePLB were able to achieve key efficiency savings for the College and provide more teaching facilities in less space for a reduced cost. This strategy also offered to the opportunity to part-fund the work through the conversion of the Desborough Road campus into residential properties and parking for College use.
A key driver of the brief was collaborative working. The project is designed to interface successfully with the College’s existing facilities, promote group learning and blended teaching using ICT and individual research. The location of the new block provides a key external social space, with glass facades revealing the activity within. A first floor single story link overlooking the courtyard will provide circulation but also double as an Open Access IT space for 60 workstations. The link’s facade has a hexagonal glazing system combined with a graphical representation of Ytterbium, a chemical element used in solid-state lasers and semi-conductors. This strategy provides some solar control while creating a dramatic facade that reflects the College’s aspirations for the building.