University of Stirling, Campus Central
The University of Stirling
The University of Stirling
Internal Floor Area
New Extension - 3070m2 | Refurbishment - 2433m2m2
Campus Central will be a dynamic new environment forming the social core of the University of Stirling, encouraging connections and engagement across the academic and wider community
Campus Central is located at the heart of the main University of Stirling Campus. The proposal seeks to create an environment that encourages staff and students to come together in spaces that facilitate dialogue and social learning, with the ambition of delivering a transformative experience.
The proposal consists of three elements: a three storey extension forming a new entrance to the Andrew Miller Building complex and Macrobert Arts Centre; the extensive refurbishment of the existing atrium concourse and study centre to create a new Campus Central Hub; and the transformation of the immediate landscape setting, reimagining Queens Court to create an attractive and usable external environment.
The project has been inspired by the geographical location of the campus, situated on the edge of the Carse of Stirling, the Ochil and Campsie Hills to either side, bisected by the meandering River Forth with the Castle and Monument forming distinctive landmarks on the horizon.
With the existing University Library on one side and the Macrobert Arts Centre on the other, together they form the valley edges, within which we imagine the meandering movement and life of the University, extending from Queens Court and the new entrance building through to the Campus Central Hub, concourse and study area.
The three storey building embraces the approach from Queens Court, addressing the re-envisaged quad, creating a civic entrance to the west and spectacular approach from the loch-side terrace. The building connects the Macrobert Arts Centre into a fully accessible ensemble, enhancing the provision for meeting, socialising and study. Dramatic top lit voids are conceived in the spirit of gulleys or chasms, characteristic of river formation, bringing daylight deep into the plan. A sculpted staircase serves as a distinctive focal point connecting the floors, supplemented by a new fully accessible lift.
The upper ground floor of the building connects imperceptibly with the existing atrium, renovated to provide a more engaging contemporary setting. Rationalising the surfaces and openings along the wall to Macrobert reinforces continuity between the extension and atrium, promoting visual connectivity with the arts centre and providing a platform for sharing information. Access to the University Library and Student Union are to be enhanced with furniture and signage. The existing shopfronts are to be opened up, generating a new rhythm of frontages reinforced by lightbox signage integrated into the thresholds of each unit. Celebrating its remarkable situation overlooking the Airthrey Loch and the Ochil Hills, the study centre is to be refurbished to create a more comfortable and enjoyable environment to learn and socialise in.
A vibrant new setting for post graduate activity is proposed on the upper level of the new building, offering spectacular views across the loch-side campus and south towards the Wallace Monument.
Campus Central and the remodelled Queens Court form part of a wider University Campus Masterplan. The aspiration for this project is to improve the entrance setting of Queens Court, allowing the life and activity of the new building and atrium to spill out into a pedestrian-friendly environment that can flexibly accommodate a range of uses throughout the year. The basis of the strategy frees-up Queens Court from all traffic, relocating bus stops and a new transport hub at strategic locations to access the wider campus. Ian White Associate’s design for the landscape focuses on creating a clear welcome into the heart of the University, providing external gathering and seating spaces that encourage social life, legibility in wayfinding as well as beauty and sensory delight.
A wide consultation strategy has been undertaken, working with stakeholders to develop the aspirations for the project and review the relevant constraints within the context of the University’s vision for the wider masterplan. This includes working with internal stakeholders throughout the University to develop the vision, functional provision and technical requirements, in parallel with work engaging external stakeholders including Planning and Building Standards from the local council, Stirling Access Forum, Scottish Water and First Bus.
Inspired by the brutalist architecture of the adjacent buildings and the stunning landscape setting of the University Campus, the building has been designed to have a structurally expressive interior of exposed in-situ concrete, lined in a warm palette of timber to the walls and ceilings and ceramic stone floor tiles. A bright, uplifting environment is proposed, making the most of large areas of glazing to the façade and sizeable rooflights. Influenced by the visual art, design and fashion from the era the Campus was originally built, a sixties and a warm, natural palette has been selected for acoustic fabric screens, furnishings and geometric vinyl flooring.
Campus Central is about reimagining the University’s broader community of activity.
We will encounter new types of social learning spaces, quite different from what we have experienced in the past. It will enable a variety of activities in new settings and environments. From offering help and advice in new ways and creating flexible arrangements for interaction, the new University focal point will be seen as a key dynamic platform. Critically, a vital aspect of the provision in addition to the current library, student union and commercial activity, is the re-integration of the Macrobert Arts Centre. This bridges the Campus Central to the wider arts world and will intensify the energy at the heart of the campus.
Complementing the academic and research oriented facilities, the project seeks to intensify the relationship between the student union, library, chaplaincy and arts centre, and address the need to reinvigorate the commercial activity in the Campus Central Hub to enhance the overall experience.