Alan Gilbert Learning Commons, University of Manchester (Interiors) Manchester, UK
The new public study space - which links the library, Learning Commons and the administrative heart of the campus at the University of Manchester - has been designed to give students a focal point for learning, offering a stimulating and comfortable 24/7 environment for study. With more than 1,000 flexible study spaces, Alan Gilbert Learning Commons provides an inspiring range of equipment and furnishings for individual and group study.
The principal sustainability objective was to minimise the building’s emissions of CO2. Heat loss will also be limited by high thermal insulation performance; natural ventilation is used where possible; heat recovery systems limit the amount of heating and cooling of fresh air; daylight is maximised and energy efficient appliances and systems will be used. There are also photovoltaic tiles on the roof, whilst solar thermal systems provide hot water for the café.
During the design development, Sheppard Robson explored options to retain the existing 1960s refectory building or completely demolish and rebuild it. It was decided to retain the existing structure and re-use the frame of the building, which brought carbon and cost savings to the project and allowed the team to make use of the original long-span concrete structure.
The final design was 40% refurbishment, 60% new-build, and takes inspiration from the colours and geometry of the neighbouring Grade II listed buildings.
The project was named "Best University Facility" in 2014 by The Guardian newspaper.
- 5,500 m2