University’s MediaCityUK campus shortlisted for design award
The MediaCityUK campus of the University of Salford has been shortlisted for the prestigious 2012 British Council for Offices Awards. The awards provide public recognition for top quality design and functionality and are a benchmark for excellence in workplaces.
The judges visited the campus this week to assess it before the winners are announced in spring. The £18m development was designed by the Fairhursts Design Group, which worked on the project for three years to create highly serviced, acoustically separated spaces within an existing envelope.
The building was originally designed as a speculative office development but the University wanted to create a space that would attract students and the surrounding businesses, fostering collaboration. A space was wanted that would foster teaching, learning and research and become a hub of innovation and creativity for the vibrant community at MediaCityUK.
The designers at Fairhursts wanted to create a University environment that would be a mix between contemporary commercial space and a state of the art technical facility; and the space incorporates a mix of public and private environments, such as TV and radio studios, edit suites, lecture rooms, a café and an art installation called the ‘Egg’ in the main atrium.
The Egg’s feature digital wall – a cutting edge technological Christie tile screen – can be relocated and its 90 separate screens can be arranged in different formations for exhibitions or to create an interactive environment.
The challenge for the design team was then to create a series of informal collaboration spaces with multiple routes to destinations, rather than a ‘race track’ corridor.
The open plan area on the ground floor is a visually stimulating space that has a variety of uses.
The ground floor also houses two bespoke TV studios and a digital media performance studio. All the studios and digital infrastructure have been specified by industry experts and future proofed for emerging technologies.
The upper floors have a complete different feel and they provide modern open working areas for the University’s academics.
Linking the three floors is a statement coloured glass staircase. Since the background is mostly monochrome, the designers wanted the staircase to stand out. Although the main purpose of a staircase is to take traffic it has also been designed to encourage collaborations through chance meetings.