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A series of freestanding timber 'pods'

working details

The seven-storey building contains teaching spaces - three lecture theatres on the ground floor and a six-storey block of teaching accommodation above.

The concrete-frame structure is set back on the south-west to allow an atrium, the main entrance foyer, to rise the full height of the building. The facade is a glazed LVL (laminated veneer lumber) grid braced with glulam props. Staircases and lifts on each side of the atrium give access to the upper-level teaching block.

Two sets of free-standing timber 'pods' with curved timber-clad walls rise, one on each side of the atrium.They are used for seminars and informal teaching; the storey-height spaces between them are enclosed with glass balustrades to form terraces which students can use as 'break-out' spaces, with views into the atrium and out through the glazed wall.

The terraces are lined with balustrades of clear 15mm toughened glass fixed to slender steel balusters.

The pods are supported on pairs of 300mm diameter glulam columns and, at the rear, they are fixed back to the concrete lift shaft wall. Each pod has a similar exposed timber structure; a curved LVL perimeter beam which frames an assembly of LVL beams and cross-beams, flitched to the columns with steel fins and collars. The structure is braced with a plywood deck floor lined with acoustic mat and plasterboard to control sound attenuation. A raised access floor system acts as a plenum for the air cooling system.

The pods are sheathed with white beech ply panels clad with vertical strips of steamed beech - to give greater strength of colour in contrast to the ply. The strips vary in size and spacing to cast complex shadows.

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