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The Forum, University of Exeter, Streatham Campus

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Wilkinson Eyre Architects

The architect’s view

The Forum was conceived as the new heart of the social and academic life of the University of Exeter. Occupying the previously underused space between buildings on the University of Exeter’s Streatham Campus, The Forum rationalises the steeply sloping topography of the site into two horizontal circulation levels and encloses approximately 9,000m² of new space beneath one of the largest truly free-form timber gridshell roofs in the country, measuring 3,500m².

The result is a galleried, indoor high street for the university, enabling improved connections between important facilities such as the Great Hall, Library and Student Guild. A new student services centre takes a prominent position within The Forum, which also houses a new 400-seat auditorium and teaching and seminar spaces.

The orientation, arrangement and form of The Forum respond to the contours of the rolling hills of Exmoor, which provide the setting for the building and inspired the palette of materials specified.

  • Chris Donoghue, project associate, Wilkinson Eyre Architects

Project data

Start on site May 2010
Completion May 2012
Gross internal area 9,300m²
Form of contract NEC two-stage design & build
Project cost £48 million
Cost per m² £3,300
Client The University of Exeter
Structural engineer Buro Happold
M&E consultant Buro Happold
Quantity surveyor Davis Langdon
Civils, fire, acoustic, AV/IT, transport, access, BREEAM and environmental engineering Buro Happold
Landscape consultant Hargreaves Associates
Planning consultant Turley Associates
Signage, wayfinding and branding Thomas Matthews
Project manager Davis Langdon
CDM co-ordinator Davis Langdon
Approved building inspector Exeter City Council
Main contractor Sir Robert McAlpine
CAD software used Microstation

Specified products

Copper Roof Cladding
Varla UK / KME
Copper standing seam, bright finish
www.varla.co.uk / www.kme.com

Spruce roof timbers
SH Structures
Glue laminated beams, natural finish

Timber cladding, soffits and linings
Hazelwood Carpentry
External: green oak and air dried oak, natural finish
Internal: kiln dried oak, satin finish

Auditorium brickwork
Ibstock Brick, Chailey Factory
Chailey Stock brick

Internal stone cast wall panels
Gillespie UK
Portland, sand blasted finish, anti-graffiti coating

Portland stone
Irvin Whitelock
Various sizes, honed finish, anti-graffiti coating

Terrazzo tiles
300x300x22mm Slimline Granite Terrazzo, polished finish. Colour: Somor, Mocha

ETFE Rooflights
Vector Foiltec
Circa 4.5m triangles, three -layer cushions with random printed frit pattern, 10% Silver 01249




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