Modelled on the concept of the ‘Salons’ as theatres of conversation and knowledge sharing, the new extension for the Business School for the Creative Industries at UCA Epsom proposes a connecting building (3,735m2 GFA) to supplement the current facility and accommodate new undergraduate and post-graduate programmes.
The design was created in a collaboration between UNStudio (Design Vision) and John Robertson Architects (Local Design Partner), Grant Associates (Landscape Architect), Atelier Ten (Building Services Engineering, Environmental Design, Lighting Design) and AKT II (Structure and Facade Engineer).
“Salons provided fascinating opportunities for debate for intellectuals from all walks of life. Artists, scientists, philosophers, politicians; they all gathered to debate the concerns of their time, cross-fertilising and mutually influencing each other’s ideas along the way. Facilitating such exchange of ideas forms the core of the design for the new Business School.”
Designed to encourage interaction and collaboration, as well as blur the hierarchical boundaries between faculty and students, the main inspiration for the new Business School for the Creative Industries is modelled on the concept of the historical ‘salon’: a place where everyone can gather to debate, share opinions and mutually influence each other’s ideas.
The new extension embraces the core characteristics of the University for the Creative Arts by focusing in on one single gravity point: The Fireplace. The Fireplace is a central gathering space that defines the new social and knowledge sharing core of the university, while linking all existing and newly built elements together. An elevated circulation ring connects the existing campus to the new buildings, creating a pronounced functional connection while acting as a strong social anchor by creating a stage for campus events and informal learning.
One of the key principles in our design is to ensure the health and wellbeing of students and staff. As such, we incorporated biophilic design strategies where possible, incorporating natural elements into our design. Spaces within the school are connected by sun lit pathways, with a covered courtyard and internal garden blurring the boundaries between the indoor and outdoor space. Where the glass facade of the courtyard opens up, the greenery of the garden extends into the indoor spaces.
The new identity of the campus is also defined by a contemporary approach to the use of natural, carbon neutral materials, as well as energy and water infrastructure. Most materials used in the building are sourced from carbon neutral and renewable sources, making use of flexible and reusable materials. Beyond materials, water and energy, our circular design strategies also ensure that spaces can be adapted to the ever changing demands of education over time.
News courtesy of UNStudio