Written by Andrew Houston Architectural Assistant

Embracing the latest thinking in the Higher Education sector, the Jefferson Sheard team was asked to create a fully collaborative design for a flexible, multi-use and technologically agile learning resource environment. This is the latest in a range of schemes we’ve completed for the University, which was recently voted the best University in Yorkshire for satisfaction and employability.

The double-storey teaching and learning block accommodates almost 2000m² of new space and links with the University’s existing library to create an extensive learning resource centre.

Photographs courtesy of Morgan Sindall

Sector(s)

  • Higher Education

Value
£4m

Client(s)
Leeds Trinity University

Size
2,000m²

Location
Leeds, UK

Design

The brief emerged from a series of both formal engagement sessions and informal collaboration methods via the image sharing social network Pinterest. We followed Jisc’s simple set of principles, “that space should be: Flexible to accommodate both current and evolving pedagogies; Future proofed – to enable space to be re-allocated and reconfigured; Bold – to look beyond tried and tested technologies and pedagogies; Creative – to energise and inspire learners and tutors; Supportive – to develop the potential of all learners; Enterprising – to make each space capable of supporting different purposes.”

Go to Build

Build

The construction responds sensitively to the steeply sloping site and prominence of the adjacent landmark library building. Its plan is a simple arrangement of three efficient rectilinear volumes, each one cranking in direct response to its surrounding constraints and context. A simple composition of brick, cladding, glass and projecting eaves combine to diminish the buildings presence as it increases in height. The brief called for a single point of entry that knits-together the library and new learning space. The solution was to remodel the existing entrance foyer into free flowing node that welcomes its users. Generous circulation throughout creates a clear coherent strategy of open and interconnected spaces. A double height atrium space provides exceptional daylighting into the project’s social heart.

Go to In-use

“The emphasis on learning means that we must also think about the learner. Learning spaces are not mere containers for a few, approved activities; instead, they provide environments for people.”

Brown. M and Long P.D, Trends in learning space design

In-use

The new Andrew Kean Learning Centre is a space dedicated to 21st learning, reflecting the University's ethos and aspirations as a centre of excellence. The space is acoustically intelligent, enabling students to gather in a social learning context without disrupting the general calm and quiet of the library. The collaborative process adopted throughout the life of this project signals to students, tutors and University staff that they can have control over their own learning – it is this collaborative essence of the project which underpins the success of new centre and provides an educational space to be enjoyed by all.

“We cannot design effective spaces for learning unless we recognise that many stakeholders hold a valuable piece of the puzzle - their input is essential.”

Bickford, The Hidden Context for Learning Space

The Team

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