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Devon college building to give real-life experience

Petroc College opens new state of the art engineering building

Posted by Stephanie Broad | December 11, 2015 | Bricks & mortar

Petroc College in North Devon has just welcomed the first students into its newly opened Engineering building facility, designed by LHC Architecture and Urbanism.

The college secured £10.8 million investment for the delivery of a new engineering facility and a new lifestyle and tourism building which will be home to specially-designed education space for hundreds of students next spring. 

Architects LHC Architecture and Urbanism helped in making the grand designs to become a reality, working alongside the college to ensure the finished buildings provide inspiration and motivation to hundreds of ambitious students over the coming years.

The engineering building will be home to state of the art facilities and fully equipped workshops. The building itself showcases aesthetic qualities usually found in the working environment, to help the students visualize the projects they might be working on in their future careers. The building features an open communal space that is already being used by the students, with a painted steel staircase leading up to a balcony area that utilises the natural light flowing through the glazed entrance. 

The building also features exposed elements and materials that students will be learning to work with throughout their time at the college. The workshops are finished with polished concrete floors and a robust exposed concrete staircase takes them to the first floor where there are six classrooms and staff offices. This floor is designed as a more comfortable and traditional learning environment, with carpeted floors and ribbon windows that run horizontally to let in natural lighting.

Director for Resources at Petroc, Neil Hookway, said: “We recognise and highly value the importance of investing in the local community and the new facility will create inspiring working environments for students on a wide range of engineering study programmes, to support a seamless transition from training to employment. We have a hugely successful engineering provision here at Petroc and have great working partnerships with a number of large and specialist employers in the area – the new facility celebrates this.” 

Outside the building the landscape is minimal, compromising a simple courtyard between the engineering building and the neighboring automotive workshops, allowing the students to share the outdoor space.

Once completed, this building will offer unique learning environments for students aspiring to work in leisure and hospitality industries.  As well as fully functioning commercial kitchens, the students will benefit from a professional restaurant where they can hone their skills by serving the general public.

The building will also boast fully equipped hairdressing and beauty salons with fixed furniture and more traditional teaching space and classrooms on the second floor. The most unique feature of this exciting building will be the inclusion of part of aircraft fuselage from the interior of an airplane that will allow for training in airline industry roles. 

Both buildings will also generate their own electricity via solar pholtovoltaic (PV) installations on the roof space. The engineering already has a 36-panel installation in place, taking up half of the roof space and generating a substantial amount of electricity, with unused electricity being fed back into the national grid.

Keiran Bartlett from LHC Architecture and Urbanism said: “The aim of this project is to provide flexible working space for the hundreds of students that will pass through the doors over the coming years. We have used good quality material and considerately designed spaces that will hopefully act as a source of inspiration and motivation for the students in their future careers.' 

He continued: “It is fantastic to see the students in the engineering building making the most of the facilities, and we look forward to seeing the leisure and tourism students move into their new building next spring.”

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