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Thursday 04 Mar 2010

Two colleges merge in innovative automotive and engineering complex

Castle College (a merger of Broxtowe College and People’s College in Nottingham) has successfully partnered with a series of world class ‘brands’. They have found that the brand aura of companies like Toyota, Speedo or Paul Smith is already understood by the 14-18 year olds that attend the college and that these companies’ working processes, management, ambition, creativity and training methods are readily understood and absorbed by students of further education.

The building form is a unique built embodiment of the partnering between castle College and Toyota in that the building is laid out with a 'wing' where Toyota carry out their training and marketing, automotive design and maintenance. This is mirrored by a 'wing' with the same facilities used by the further education students.In this way the students literally mirror the working principles of the Toyota trainees. This directly aspirational model has had wonderful results, particularly where the students and the trainees come together in the third element of the building – the circular hub that acts as restaurant, presentation suite, learning resource centre and social area.

The building is a unique and original facility in the U.K that provides a model for training within the workplace (Toyota) while maintaining the security, supervision and inclusive agenda of a further education college. This model is being replicated in a whole series of partnership buildings across the U.K.The building is a highly visible landmark for regeneration, change and aspiration in a run down part of Nottingham where youth unemployment is high and the draw of Toyota and an exciting new building have already transformed the area.The site has been transformed from a waterlogged and highly polluted brownfield site on the outskirts of Nottingham into a vibrantly coloured and distinctly shaped building that 'hovers' over a new public park with the poetic gesture of giant lilly pad islands set in a new watercourse.

Blueprint, the developer for the research park and this building, has sustainable strategies as a founding principle of their funding. They have their own checklists, targets and analysis that are required of all the projects that they fund.Highfields, Nottingham is an exemplar in sustainable development in that it is providing a new community for research, training and learning that is regenerating a rundown suburban area of the city and is acting as a catalyst for new investment and activity in the area.

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United Kingdom

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