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CeAL, Centre for Active Learning, University of Gloucestershire, UK

Feilden Clegg Bradley Architects

The Centre for Active Learning (CeAL) is an innovative new teaching facility for the University of Gloucester, located within the historic grounds of the Francis Close Hall campus in Cheltenham.

The building is built to high environmental standards, using sustainable materials and technologies which reflect the environmental aspirations of the University. The three storey building has been carefully located within the landscaped historic setting and sits comfortably alongside the original Grade 2* listed neo-gothic college buildings built in the mid C19th.

The form and scale of the new building makes reference to the historic context, incorporating a steeply pitched roof form, tower-like entrance and elongated asymmetrical slot windows similar to those of the 1850’s architecture.

The materials for the new building were chosen for their durability, quality and character. Natural golden Cotswold stone was used to create a solid plinth to the building which matches the stone walls of the adjacent college buildings. The roof and the upper floor are clad in pre-patinated copper with standing seams. The material continues round each gable to complete a barn-like form to the building. The rich colour of the copper blends well with the russet tones of the local vernacular clay tile roofs and provides an appropriate contemporary alternative material in such a sensitive historic setting.

The use of copper allowed design freedom in the shape and size of openings that could be created. Long slot windows follow the lines of the vertical seams on the main elevations while on the gables the orientation of the copper changes to accommodate a series of horizontal openings. The strong, pure roof form was achieved through close liaison with the specialist subcontractors which ensured that the desired results were realised.



University of Gloucestershire
Completion date: 
United Kingdom
Zip code: 
GL50 4AZ
Francis Close, Hall Campus, Swindon Road


Type of building: 
Copper used: 


Name, office: 
Feilden Clegg Bradley Architects
Address & description: 
Bath Brewery, Toll Bridge Road, Bath BA1 7DE

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