Whether on or offcampus,today's students must be within a few paces a trendy friendly bar.One such is Glo bar,the Student Union bar at Nottingham Trent University, reinvented by Nottingham-based architect Letts Wheeler in collaboration with designer Wolfgang Buttress and landscape architect Fiona Heron.
The 700 capacity bar,cafe and night club occupies the first floor ofthe Student Union building.Existing boxy spaces were removed and the floor totally restructured to create flexible uncluttered areas served by rationalised ancillary spaces.A prominent new street elevation was formed and additional external space gained by opening out the rear ofthe building in the form ofa new glass extension,canopy and timber deck.
This brings light into the centre ofthe deepplan bar as well as enabling the cafe to spill out onto an existing pedestrian street.Letts Wheeler was also responsible for the new exterior stair leading to the front entrance offShakespeare Street.
The complementary use ofday and artificial light was key to the design.During the day the space serves as a cafe,naturally lit through rooflights,super-reflective Monodraught 'sun pipe'roofdomes,etched-glass windows and the glazed extension.At night, artificial lighting takes over,creating a club/bar ambience.Low-energy fittings are recessed into the walls,their distinctive shapes visible through coloured polycarbonate squares and recycled compact discs,with a forest offittings suspended on flexible stems from the exposed corrugated steel ceiling.
Commitment to environmentally conscious recycling influenced the selection of materials throughout the project.The timber,used on floor and tables,is all reclaimed;Welsh slate is used on the main bar areas,the dance floor is polished concrete with a resin seal.The bar operates its own bottle recycling system,with a digital monitor recording each empty bottle as it is chucked down a chute into a recycling bin - a popular gimmick with students and an ingenious device for shifting lager as round numbers approach.
The tables were designed by Wolfgang a round table incorporates images in a central disc:coffee beans,chilli pods, Superman,nothing serious - and the square table is made oftanalised shuttering plywood cut on section.Paul Smith,whose company is based in Nottingham,designed a special T-shirt for the bar staff.
CLIENT The Nottingham Trent University Student Union
DESIGNER & CONTRACTOR Wolfgang Ltd:Wolfgang Buttress,Fiona Heron
ARCHITECT Letts Wheeler Architecture & Design
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER Price & Myers Consulting Engineers (Nottingham)
SITE MANAGEMENT Peter Linstead
MAIN CONTRACTOR Wolfgang
SUBCONTRACTORS AND SUPPLIERS
graphic design Twentyfiveten;
staff uniforms Paul Smith;
chairs Philippe Starck, Matthew Hilton;
products and furniture supplier Atomic;
specialist joinery Michael Whitemore;
specialist metalwork Alan Leckie;
steel fabrication Rollins Fabrication;
glazing Bonam & Berry;
electrical Selby Electrical;
decorations Howard Thomas Decor