Two historic buildings brought up to date by Hopkins for Nottingham Trent University
The Newton & Arkwright project is the £90m centrepiece development of the Nottingham Trent University (NTU) City Campus regeneration project and secures the future of two of the University's grade II* listed buildings on their city centre site.
The Newton and Arkwright buildings are each of their times and were sadly never designed to work together, leaving them backing into each other across an awkward and unresolved wedge of space with numerous back doors alleyways and loading bays opening onto it that became known as Newton Yard. Changes in the patterns of movement around the city - most notably the NET Tram line on Goldsmith Street meant that the majority of people using the buildings accessed them via Newton yard and effectively both buildings were functioning ‘back-to-front'.
The brief required that the buildings be adapted to create an open welcoming and inclusive environment, from the design of entrances to the character of teaching spaces and to provide adaptable spaces for learning to meet new and ever changing requirements for the delivery of teaching. Most fundamentally, the brief required that both moribund buildings be regenerated to provide a range of efficient, flexible, accessible and inspirational facilities to serve as the future heart of the regenerated city centre campus.
At the heart of the scheme is the new Central Court and Link building - designed to become the new ‘front door' to the City campus, locating NTU within the city and providing it with a new vibrant social centre whilst providing a key functional benefit in turning the Newton and Arkwright circulation patterns around, linking the buildings together and providing a transparent yet welcoming new entrance and front elevation.
Significant structural works have been carried out to open up the lower two floors of the Newton building (the redundant engineering workshops) to create and allow space to flow into the double height ‘Newton Forum' which bridges between the new lecture theatres and large multi-purpose teaching rooms creating the learning & teaching powerhouse of the scheme. While the upper floors of Newton tower have been completely refitted to provide a pool of new teaching rooms and staff offices. These floors now offer a more open, legible and un-intimidating plan along with an adaptable mix of well serviced rooms to teach groups of between 18 and 60 students.
The Victorian Arkwright building outer street facing wings have been restored to their original configuration of grand rooms whilst the jumbled and underused central wing has been removed to open up the entrance hall of this building for the first time and create the Arkwright Quadrangle. This new quadrangle provides the university with its first and only secure external space of any quality and allows the opportunity to orientate oneself, provides a venue for students, staff and on occasions, the public to enjoy a calm and contemplative exterior space secured from the bustle of the city beyond.