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BDP wins £41m overhaul of Strathclyde’s former architecture school

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The University of Strathclyde has picked BDP for a £41 million revamp of its Architecture Building and Colville Building in central Glasgow

The AJ100 second-placed practice – working with project manager Gardiner & Theobald – was selected ahead of an undisclosed shortlist of rival teams to win the prestigious commission.

The studio will now draw up plans to transform the two landmark buildings at the university’s John Anderson Campus into a new student hub, to be called The Place.

The project will refurbish the Category B-listed Architecture Building and see the neighbouring Colville Building stripped back and fully redeveloped. It will also add a link building connecting the two 1960s structures.

According to the project brief: ‘This exciting, bold and innovative project will deliver a transformational change in student experience in the very heart of the John Anderson campus. It will provide outstanding teaching and learning facilities and a one-stop-shop for student services, and incorporate accommodation for the University of Strathclyde Student Association.

‘The Place will provide a focal point for students in a vibrant student-centred welcoming environment reinforcing the students’ sense of community and belonging, where students can decide when, where and how they would prefer to study in a contemporary and high-quality environment.’

The university, founded in 1796, has about 21,000 students and 3,200 staff on its central Glasgow campus close to George Square. The Architecture Building was designed by Frank Fielden & Associates, and when it opened in 1967 was the first purpose-built structure of its kind to have been built in the UK within three decades.

Three years ago the university’s controversial decision to move its school of architecture out of the much-loved 1960s building on North Portland Street was criticised by former tutors and students.

The Place redevelopment project aims to deliver a flexible ‘non-departmental’ space for all students in the centre of the landscaped campus. It will include a multi-purpose events and exhibitions space, catering facilities, social spaces, a new student union and open plan accommodation for up to 384 staff.

Music practice studios, meeting rooms, a 250-seat lecture theatre, a security office, classrooms and storage areas will also be delivered. The whole project is set to complete in 2021.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • 'Open plan accommodation for up to 384 staff' - I wonder how they'll like that, in the light of recent observations that many academic staff prefer to work in individual offices rather a large open space.

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  • Geoff Williams

    Good point raised by Robert Wakeham. It poses a greater risk of fire. There have been several events of fire in student accommodation. Most are caused by inadequate electric wiring and the need for fireproof cable must be high on the agenda by BDP.

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