Steel frame on the skyline

With the steel frame of one of two technology centres already erected, work is well underway on three new campus developments totalling £25m, designed by Pick Everard for the College of West Anglia.

Multi-disciplinary consultancy Pick Everard is currently leading the construction of two technology centres at campus sites in Wisbech and Kings Lynn, where a landmark tower block is also set for redevelopment. Out-dated buildings are being replaced and facilities for further education students improved, with current projects due for completion in 2013.

Flexible space

Pick Everard was initially involved in developing an overall property strategy for the college, identifying a development sequence that was logical, cost effective, ordered and prioritised. The resulting campus layout will improve accommodation, providing more flexible teaching spaces and clear intuitive access routes.

The two technology centres will be built on the Tennyson Avenue Campus at Kings Lynn and the Isle Campus in Wisbech.

The Isle Campus Wisbech technology centre features an angular elevation along Churchill Road, clad with fibre cement and profiled metal sheet. A masonry plinth wraps around the building in facing brick to match other buildings on campus. Fenestration comprises large, floor to ceiling glazing to teaching and office spaces, horizontal slot windows to the workshops and features angular curtain wall and louvered panels.

The form and orientation of the King’s Lynn technology centre respond to the college’s wider master plan for a more coherent Tennyson Avenue campus in the longer term. External landscaped pedestrian corridors through the core of the campus offer clear access to new and existing buildings and segregate pedestrians from other modes of transport. The main elevations of this building adopt a sophisticated industrial aesthetic with subtle variations in parapet heights, metal sinusoidal cladding juxtaposed against contrasting rainscreen cladding and careful fenestration balancing the composition of the East and South wings. The East elevation has an expanse of glazed curtain walling which adds depth and improves legibility of spaces when viewed from the main approach.

Facilities will include engineering, electronics, plumbing, motor vehicle and carpentry workshops, classrooms and ITC suites.

New technology

Both two-storey buildings will feature biomass boilers and air source heat pumps, with the finished projects aiming for a BREEAM excellent rating.

Norwich-based contractor R G Carter has the steel frame of the Tennyson Avenue technology centre up and is planning to have the building watertight by March 2012.

The £12.5m tower block project includes total refurbishment and upgrading of the 9,000sq ft, nine-storey building. New facilities include a refectory, a learning resource centre and a faculty of health and social care. Pick Everard is also managing the provision of extensive temporary teaching accommodation while work is ongoing.

Pick Everard Project Architect, Mike Pole, said these upgrades would provide a valuable new asset for teaching and student life. “The College of West Anglia needed advice about how to upgrade current buildings following the collapse of funding for new development after the demise of the Learning & Skills Council. We carried out an in-depth assessment to help maximise available funds, resource further options and get live projects underway, helping the College to provide the best possible amenities for its students within current budget constraints.”

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