Glasgow Caledonian University, Heart of the Campus
Glasgow Caledonian University
Glasgow Caledonian University, Cowcaddens Road, Glasgow, G4 0BA
Internal Floor Area
A new heart, revitalised by a new entrance setting, a landscape and a colonnade of connections.
Following Page Park’s 2010 Campus Masterplan, Glasgow Caledonian University has recently completed a series of priority projects identified in the masterplan – the Campus Futures Project – that represents a £32m investment in their campus estate, environment and setting. This will enable the University to retain its competitive position against other Higher Education institutions nationally and internationally as well as support student retention and attract higher student numbers from around the world.
The signature development for the Campus Future’s investment has been the Heart of Campus Project, which creates a connected social setting at the centre of the campus, opening onto revitalised and innovative green courtyard spaces, all anchored with a clear new entrance for the University as part of a high quality civic setting on the ‘high street’ public spine that runs through the site. The Heart of Campus project provides a new central restaurant, ‘study club’ social learning café space, student services area, breakout and informal social/study spaces, welcome areas, enhanced teaching provision and flexible lecture hall, all arranged around focal point garden courtyards.
A central innovation in the design of the Heart of Campus project (that emerged from the 2010 masterplan) was the physical ‘opening up’ of the ground floors of the 8-storey George Moore building that sits at the centre of the campus. Removing solid cladding panels and internal partitions from the bottom two floors of the building and extending the building on both sides enabled the free flow of space and views through the building, linking revitalised innovative landscaped courtyards with eating, social and learning spaces accommodated in the new and extended open floor plates. This design approach with increased connectivity between buildings has provided a transformation to how people circulate through the campus, as well as how they interact and enjoy the external courtyard spaces. These have become places to occupy rather than look at.
In addition, achieving DDA accessibility through the core of the campus was another central aim of the project. This involved some very innovative design thinking and solutions, to ‘carve’ new routes through highly complex existing building structures, each with live and essential IT infrastructure, telecoms and utility routes. New entrance structures to both the George Moore and Hamish Wood buildings provide both civic presence to a central public spine, but also fully accessible, legible and linked routes into the heart of the campus accommodation.
The Heart of the Campus project, incorporating the highest quality public realm, landscaping and public facing and fully accessible social spaces, has transformed the quality of the campus internally, as well as across all its city centre facing edges. The design has provided a legible and distinctive setting for the University within its local community, and provides a significant offering to the public realm at the north of the city’s central core.
Feedback from users of the campus (staff, students and visitors) since the Heart of Campus project has been completed has been overwhelmingly positive, exceeding the expectations of the University.
The 2010 Campus Masterplan by Page\Park for Glasgow Caledonian University (which remains the current guiding document in relation to its estate development) identified a number of core principles for the University’s evolution.
These principles were:
- Create a ‘Heart’
- Green the Campus
- Define the University Entrance
- Consolidate remote teaching and research functions;
- Connect existing buildings
- Grow out from the Heart
The ‘Heart of the Campus’ project developed a number of these core principles, but also looked to the wider context and the relationship of the Campus to the City.
Two key wider ideas emerged, the idea of a garden as a focal point in the centre of the campus, and a reconsideration of how the University addressed Cowcaddens Road and the City – a new arrival concourse. Although a reduced version of the concourse was realised as part of the project, it acts to channel visitors towards the edge of the ‘Heart of the Campus’ and the new ‘Front Door’ to the University.
The new ‘Front Door’ takes the form of two new entrance pavilions which link to the existing 60’s concrete structures of George Moore and Hamish Wood. The pavilions bring a civic presence to a central public spine, and provide fully accessible, legible and linked routes into the heart of the campus accommodation. They create a connected social setting at the centre of the campus, opening onto revitalised green courtyard spaces.
Central to the George Moore was the physical ‘opening up’ of the ground floors of the 8-storey building that sits at the centre of the campus. Removing solid cladding panels and internal partitions from the bottom two floors of the building and extending the building on both sides enabled the free flow of space and views through the building, linking landscaped courtyards with eating, social and learning spaces accommodated in the new and extended open floor plates. This design approach with increased connectivity between buildings has provided a transformation to how people circulate through the campus, as well as how they interact and enjoy the external courtyard spaces. These have become places to occupy rather than meerly look at.
A series of structured collaborative consultations were undertaken with a project review group set up by the University at all stages of the project. The diverse nature of the project meant the review group included representatives from Teaching / Learning / Schools / Central Management / Central Services / Estates. Consultations were organised to focus on:
- Vision (university wide and pedagogy)
- Strategy (for new spaces)
- Technical Services (space management / catering / maintenance / access and movement)
Page\Park collaborated with Nomad Research & Design Consultants on the briefing process, with Nomad providing a lead role on Vision and Strategy for the interiors.
The base materials in the new extension were restricted to white walls and ash veneered linings interspersed with glazing. The white walls assist the flow of space and enliven the deep plan spaces, while the natural timber finishes draw the adjacent landscaped courtyards into the interior.
A layer of bespoke furniture and fittings designed by Nomad, were overlaid, to reinforce and respond to the garden courtyard settings.
“Page\Park has worked closely with GCU and its partners at every stage of the project, and there was a confident and creative approach to design, a clear line of communication and a positive, professional and proactive attitude.”
Mr Douglas Little MCIOB Director of Estates
RICS Awards 2017 Shortlist
GIA Awards 2017 Shortlist