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Hudson Architects completes Norwich architecture school

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Hudson Architects has taken the wraps off a £3.5 million new architecture school at Norwich University of the Arts 


The practice has refurbished and remodelled a Grade II-listed building in the city centre to provide a 1,474m2 home for both the architecture school and university’s media department. 

The building, which was originally built as a Sunday school by local architect Edward Boardman in 1879, features neoclassical façades that have been left untouched in the new design. 

The main entrance has been reconfigured to include a double height foyer space leading to education spaces and a new gallery. 

The school of architecture is housed within the buildings ground and first floors and these are linked with a new staircase which features oak treads and a steel balustrade with a water-cut pattern. 

Norwich University of the Arts School of Architecture by Hudson Architects

Norwich University of the Arts School of Architecture by Hudson Architects

Architect’s view 

The University’s School of Architecture is housed on the building’s ground and first floors. The main feature is a grand, double height central atrium encircled by a gallery, which acts as a focus for the internal arrangement. This space opens up to the vaulted ceiling, where replaced rooflights flood the area beneath with daylight. Elegant candelabra provide additional lighting and a contemporary layer against the retained and restored historic fabric, which includes an ornate balustrade to the gallery, with cast iron feature scrolls beneath and ornate plaster work and panelling throughout. 

Studio and teaching spaces are arranged alongside staff offices around the perimeter of each floor, with a range of open spaces and individual rooms providing flexibility for a range of uses and group sizes. A seminar room features a glazed wall that can become an opaque projection screen, while a glazed floor to another offers views onto the hanging staircase and the foyer beneath. 

On the lower ground floor, the Faculty of Media enjoys a suite of spaces where retained fabric meets state of the art technology. Intricate tiled floors and cast iron columns are among the original features set against more contemporary finishes and equipment. Teaching spaces include fully equipped film and sound studios, alongside other seminar and studio spaces. 

Norwich University of the Arts School of Architecture by Hudson Architects

Norwich University of the Arts School of Architecture by Hudson Architects

Project data 

Location Norwich
Type of project higher education
Architect Hudson Architects
Client Norwich University of the Arts
Main contractor Balfour Beatty
Structural engineer Rossi Long Consulting
M&E Mott MacDonald
Quantity surveyor Aecom
Area 1,474m2
Cost £3.5 million
Form of contract JCT standard building contract without quantities 
 November 2015
CO2 emissions 56.76kgCO2/sq.m per annum

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