Following Page \ Park’s 2010 Campus Masterplan, Glasgow Caledonian University have recently completed a series of priority projects identified in the masterplan – the Campus Futures Project – that represent 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, creating 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. By removing solid cladding panels and internal partitions from the bottom two floors of the building and extending the building on both sides, this enabled the free flow of space and views through the building, to link 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. They 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.