University appoints award-winning architects to work on new Engineering and Design facility

An initial concept design showing an aerial view of how the new Engineering and Design facility could look

The University of Plymouth has appointed an internationally award-winning architectural practice to create an iconic new Engineering and Design facility on the western edge of its main campus.

Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios has previously won the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2008 for housing development Accordia, and two RIBA National Awards in 2019 for its work on the Southbank Centre and Alexandra Palace’s East Wing and Victorian Theatre.

It also has extensive experience in the Higher Education sector, having worked with clients including the University of London, and universities of Bristol, Sheffield and Southampton.

The architects will now work with the University to develop an inspirational and innovative new home for its School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics and additional space for the School of Art, Design and Architecture.

The facility will involve a dedicated new-build component and refurbishment of the 1970s Babbage Building, creating more than 10,000m² of research and teaching space.

It will combine re-equipped laboratories with modern, state-of-the-art resources that will enable engineering research to underpin the fourth industrial revolution, while creating the attractive environment necessary to attract and retain high-calibre staff and students.

The cutting-edge building will inspire new inter-disciplinary activities in teaching, learning and research, and nurture the innovative graduate engineers demanded by future society.

It will incorporate low carbon technologies, supporting the aims of both the University and company to achieve net zero carbon emissions and promote world-leading sustainability practices.

Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios was awarded the design contract following a competitive dialogue process, managed by RIBA Competitions, which received applications from practices across the UK.

For that, they created an eye-catching concept design which would transform the western edge of the main campus, complementing the state-of-the art Marine Building opened by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh in 2012 and supporting the opening-up of the campus to form an attractive central green space as part of the overall masterplan.

A concept drawing showing how the eastern side of the new facility might look

Professor Judith Petts CBE, Vice-Chancellor of the University, said:

“The vision of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios – to design outstanding buildings that inspire those who work within them – mirrors our own aspiration for this new facility. It also marks an exciting first step in our long-term campus masterplan, unlocking opportunities to make our whole estate more inviting and inspiring for everyone connected to the University. This new facility will create a space where students, researchers and industry come together to develop new ideas that enable society to meet some of its most pressing global challenges. By encouraging innovation in engineering and design, we can be at the forefront of supporting regional and national industrial strategies, now and in the future.”

Tom Jarman, Partner at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, said:

“We are proud to have won the RIBA competition for the University of Plymouth’s Engineering and Design facility with a scheme that will promote creativity, cross-disciplinary collaboration and wellbeing and is in line with our shared sustainable design goals. Our proposals create an open and connected building that will house a wide range of teaching and workshop spaces for the engineering and architecture schools.
“The scheme retains the 1979 Babbage Building, extending it volumetrically to create a series of interlocking parts. On the upper level, terraces connect visually to the landscape and provide additional outdoor teaching spaces. We are looking forward to developing our plans in close consultation with the University, to deliver a new western gateway at the threshold of the University and the City of Plymouth.”

A full planning application for the new building will now be developed, and the estimated timescale for completion of the new combined facility is summer 2022.

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