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Atkins-designed education campus gets go-ahead

Outline planning approved for development of new Richmond Education and Enterprise Campus

Posted by Hannah Oakman | October 02, 2016 | Bricks & mortar

The new campus will include a new, further education college alongside a new free school, special educational needs (SEN) school and Technology Hub.

The regeneration of the existing 8.65 hectare site at Richmond-upon-Thames College will deliver an integrated, innovative education campus that brings together the best of industry with the best of teaching and learning.

Designed by Atkins, the new 20,000m2 College will deliver a succinct development in two phases of building providing high quality learning facilities for 3,000 full-time students. Atkins’ design is a reflection of the College’s ambitions to deliver excellence in teaching and will create a beacon for the new campus.

Claire Wakelin, Atkins associate director and design lead for the project, said: “Industry simulated classrooms and flexible workspaces will provide a transformative learning experience for students at Richmond-upon-Thames College. This will be vital if the College is to deliver its challenging curriculum for the future, and nurture the talent and skills our country needs to meet economic growth.”

Robin Ghurburun at Richmond-upon-Thames College said: “Our new college will provide unparalleled opportunities for students to develop professional skills alongside technical partners and pursue employment through work experience and apprenticeships. Our vision is for Richmond-upon-Thames College to become a technical and professional hub for West London with a reputation for academic excellence. We aim to establish the college as a destination for the public, local community and employers while creating a major gateway to employment and higher skills.”

The first phase of development presents a strong, contemporary statement befitting its landmark position on an important gateway into London. It will deliver a variety of core curriculum spaces for business, creative and lifestyle disciplines, including e-enabled spaces for business incubation, innovation and collaboration with local businesses.

The second phase of development will deliver a ‘hands-on’ STEM centre comprising digital technology, science, engineering and construction labs in addition to a dedicated sporting and fitness suite. Phased demolition of the existing college has begun on site to make way for the development. Atkins’ decant and phasing strategy ensures the College remains open for business with minimal disruption to teachers and students throughout construction.

The College will sit alongside Haymarket Publishing’s ‘Tech Hub’, fusing high quality teaching and learning with a thriving commercial and business portfolio, and giving students access to state-of-the-art facilities, industry standard technology and the opportunity to work with established professionals.

“To encourage cross-discipline integration and interaction between students, teachers and businesses, our design puts the College’s departments within a single building environment,” said Claire. “This will help the College maximise the cross-fertilisation of curriculum and teaching and promote innovation and new thinking.”

Atkins’ design proposals reflect the College’s vision for a high quality, contemporary and professional college; the central atrium design provides open, flexible and transparent learning environments to promote inclusivity and encourage collaboration and information exchange. The atrium contains a variety of flexible activity spaces that encourage self-directed and group learning styles, which in turn stimulate learner motivation and improve student performance.

The building appearance conveys a contemporary, professional identity through the use of high quality materials and layered composition of horizontal and vertical planes. The use of vertical lighting strips further enhances the composition of glazing and complements the cladding arrangement, introducing an element of movement.

Atkins has provided multi-disciplinary design services to the College, which is due to open in summer 2018.


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