The St Luke’s Campus of Exeter University is home to three colleges that occupy the grounds. The Graduate School of Education, the School of Sport and Health Sciences and the University of Exeter Medical School all make St Luke’s their home and form a close knit community. A lawned quadrangle that forms the heart of the campus is enclosed by the North Cloisters and South Cloisters buildings and the Haighton library. It is this quadrangle and the buildings surrounding it, that help to emphasise the relaxed collegiate atmosphere that is pivotal to this campus.
The 3 storey, South Cloisters building was selected in 2013, for a major refurbishment and extension, to transform the existing redundant student accommodation into office space, teaching accommodation and medical imaging / x-ray facilities and medical research.
The principal elements of new build work consist of adding an additional floor of accommodation onto the building, as well as two new 4 storey extensions. One of which facing the quadrangle forms the main entrance and primary circulation, whilst the 2nd extension fronting onto College Road contains the medical imaging teaching suite and main teaching spaces. A complete internal refurbishment of the existing 1st and 2nd floors along with partial refurbishment of the ground floor, allows the removal of the existing outdated student bedrooms and their replacement with modern office accommodation and meeting rooms. This additional office space will allow relocation of staff from the Veysey Building as well as from Streatham Campus and free up much needed space to help drive further development across the University.
The elements of new build work are purposely designed in an unashamedly contemporary aesthetic whilst at the same time sitting modestly within the framework of the existing building scale and setting. The new top floor is deliberately set back from the face of the existing building line to lesson the impact on the street facade and visually minimise its height and mass. Whilst the buildings location within the St Leonards residential neighbourhood needs to be respected, the prominence of the development and its importance to the university obviously lead to the building being seen as a landmark building but also one that needs to sit sympathetically within the street-scape. Positive feedback received during consultation at planning stage helped result in an exciting building form yet one that sits comfortably within its surroundings and will provide a positive contribution to the townscape. Early consultation with, and feedback from the Exeter City Council planners was key to developing the successful final design.
The short construction programme and need to maintain elements of the existing building in operation during the construction has helped inform and guide the choice of materials and construction methods. Light weight steel frame and infill metal studwork help minimise additional loadings onto the existing structure and foundations. Insulated composite cladding panels for external envelope help ensure the necessary speed of building is achieved and that the building can be made watertight as swiftly as possible. Large areas of glazing provide ample natural lighting to internal spaces whilst at the same time giving a sense of openness to the facade. From the outset, the design has been guided by the universities environmental & sustainability policies and the aspiration for all new buildings to achieve a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating.
Grainge architects along with Aecom and QSPM Consultants, undertook the feasibility studies and outline design in 2013, along with securing planning permission. Midas Construction Ltd were selected as a result of the tender process as the Design and Build contractor and started work on the development in early 2014. Grainge Architects are pleased to be assisting with production information and on site design in collaboration with Opus International (Structural Engineers) and Intoheat (M&E Engineers). Work is underway on site with Construction ongoing.