Grimshaw’s largest university project opens

A £140m scheme is Grimshaw’s largest European university project to date

by Nick Myall 12 October 2015
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    Grimshaw has unveiled its £140m Boldrewood Innovation Campus at the University of Southampton. The 180-strong practice has delivered the masterplan and the design of all the new buildings on the 4.3 ha site.

    The Campus was recently opened by Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal in an official ceremony. The site places the university at the forefront of maritime research through the co-location of the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute and research facilities supporting the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment with Lloyd’s Register’s Global Technology Centre. This unique collaboration ensures students and researchers have access to real life case studies while Lloyd’s Register engineers have access to cutting-edge research. The scheme is Grimshaw’s largest European university project to date.

    Currently, four buildings have been completed and occupied: one for Lloyd’s Register and three for the university. The latter includes a hydro science facility which accommodates a 138m towing and wave tank, two large wind tunnels (one of them anechoic) together with water flumes for the detailed study of fluid dynamics. Entrances to these buildings face a sloping lawn, in the centre of an open space that will be clearly defined at the heart of the campus when the final building, a new National Infrastructure Laboratory, is completed in 2018.

    With interdisciplinary collaboration at the heart of the brief, great care was taken to find the most appropriate way to facilitate this through the architectural design. The southernmost university building shares a podium with the Lloyd’s Global Technology Centre, uniting the two organisations with a Maritime Institute designed specifically for collaborative projects. Both Lloyd’s and the university buildings also share the concept of a central atrium with acoustic properties conducive to speech, coupled with easily accessible and generous accommodation stairs

    Neven Sidor, Grimshaw’s Partner in Charge of the project, said: “It is unusual for a single architectural practice to be responsible for both the master plan and all the buildings within it and we were acutely aware of the need to balance the harmony of the whole against the individuality of its parts. We have therefore developed a family of buildings, deriving unity from a shared materials palette and diversity from the proportions with which these materials have been used. These are refined and understated buildings with a character informed by crisp and simple detailing.”

    The palette for the four buildings includes Jura limestone, used principally around podium elements, zinc cassette panels, terracotta baguettes, anodised aluminium, glass and cedar boarding. Simple detailing is demonstrated in the configuration of external shading, which has only been introduced where necessary to create a shading pattern appropriate to each elevation. On east and west facades the louvres are vertical, on south facades they are horizontal, and on north facades they have been dispensed with altogether.

    Nick Myall

    News Editor

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