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Special-Projects / UWS-Lanarkshire-Campus

UWS Lanarkshire Campus, Hamilton - Creating a World-Class Campus

Rated as Scotland’s best modern university, the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) is an institution that’s on the rise. In recent years, UWS has invested heavily in the refurbishment of its Lanarkshire Campus in Hamilton. Working with the fit out specialists SPACE incorporating haa design, and the contractor akp, we helped turn this site, just south of Glasgow, into a world-class space for teaching and research.

Completed at a cost of £110m, the entire project and design theory places a great emphasis on the flexible use of space, which reflects the university's philosophy of co-created – or collaborative – learning. With its wide open, multipurpose and adaptable areas, the Lanarkshire Campus is one of the very best academic spaces in the UK and has redefined just what a university campus can be in 2019.

The site itself comprises of three buildings, Edzell, Dunlee and Carrick. All of these were destined to be transformed in ultra-modern learning suites to allow for pioneering teaching methods to be normalised.

Central to achieving this – and indeed the UWS’ philosophy – was the use of flexible zoning and multipurpose space.

Aware of our commitment to providing world-class workplace solutions, SPACE, incorporating haa des design, asked us for a series of proposals for several moving wall systems and acoustic treatments for this ambitious project.

After reviewing our feedback, we were given the go-ahead to start production and were formally brought on board in early 2018, when the site was undergoing a full Category B enhancement and Category C fit out.

In the Edzell Building, we were asked to manufacture and install two moving partition walls within two active laboratories. The first set had a simple function; split one large research space into two, as and when required.

The second set, however, had to perform the same role but within a bustling sports sciences lab fitted with work desks, research stations and, of course, plenty of exercise equipment.

This meant the acoustic integrity of these walls was an important consideration during the design phase. After discussing the available options with our project consultants, our Solo system was picked for both locations. With its unrivalled acoustic properties, it was an obvious choice.

Each set that we manufactured and installed in the laboratories was finished in a drywipe, high-gloss MFC to allow staff and students to use the panels as an additional writing surface – perfect for promoting agile working while researching.

Our straight sliding panel system is easy to use, offers acoustic integrity and makes an impressive visual impact. Because of these benefits, these walls became a feature of the Lanarkshire campus and in total, we installed eleven sets across the three buildings.

Each set was finished in a different primary colour to match the zones that they would be helping to create. This consistent use of colour to define private and communal research areas create a clear structure across the campus - a must for any large and open plan environment but especially so for one that wants to promote flexible working.

This theme of colour-coding areas continued through the separation of several seminar rooms from the wider research areas. Again, a fixed partition was out of the question and we were asked to provide a more flexible, lightweight solution.

The thought process was that softly opening and closing the seminar rooms - rather than, say, using a static wall and door - would encourage students to utilise the spaces when they were not used for classes.

Float, our agile panel system, fitted the bill perfectly and glass panels were chosen to aid light transfer from one area to another. These were then decorated with colour manifestations to further aid zoning across campus.

The final moving wall that we provided for this project was one of our most ambitious to date.

The design team wanted to divide the main canteen area. However, they wanted to do so with a feature wall and asked us if we could make their vision a reality.

The plans called for a large moving wall, complete with an integrated pass door, customised frames and bespoke, sliding mesh panels – and that’s just the condensed version! To achieve this, we effectively rebuilt our Linera system from the ground up to enable it to feature custom frames and the bespoke mesh finish. It’s safe to say that this partition is quite literally one-of-a-kind!

As well as shaping space, we were also asked to help out with acoustics inside the Edzell, Dunlee and Carrick buildings.

Working closely with the design teams (and factoring in likely loud spots) we installed three sets of ReSound baffles in the Carrick and Edzell buildings to help stop and soak up sound in social areas.

The baffles were wrapped in Camira Synergy fabric and installed at set intervals to create a visually impressive ceiling display that integrated seamlessly with the proposed lighting installation.

Finally, we were also asked to soften the sound coming from a designated breakout and auditorium space.

Located opposite a clearly define ‘Quiet Zone’, we were tasked with stopping noise transferring across the hallway and disrupting those hard at work. To solve this, and create a little extra flexibility, we provided a Float Whisper system, complete with CNC-cut panels.

As an acoustic absorber, the Whisper panels help to stop sound from travelling, a must in this scenario. But as they were suspended on an easy-to-use track, we provided UWS’ staff and students with the options to configure this area as they saw fit – further fulfilling the University’s brief of creating a flexible space for learning.

The completed project, which took a total of twenty-six weeks, has drawn interest and praise from across the UK’s education, construction and property sectors.

Such is the calibre of this exceptional place for learning, UWS’ Lanarkshire campus was nominated from a prestigious British Council of Offices (BCO) award.

This is the definition of a perfect workspace; one that students and teachers alike will thrive in and one that we are incredibly honoured to have helped deliver alongside the teams at SPACE, haa design and akp.

» Download the complete case study of this project

Or, download individual product case studies;

» Float Glass
» Float Whisper
» Linera
» Linera (Aluminium Mesh)
» ReSound
» Solo

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