The site is constrained by surrounding development and a main access road to forms a sharp rectangular site area. The building needed to maximise the site area in order to achieve this popular and prestigious university’s need for additional teaching within a tight programme period.
The resulting design has a strong rectilinear character set orthogonally to align with the rectangular site. In contrast to this arrangement, two lecture theatres were set one above the other to form a separated pod that was twisted around in plan to align with the strong grid layout of the eastern campus buildings facing the site.
The pod is effectively ‘pushed through’ the glazed curtain walling and extends into the internal lobby area. The triple storey height of the pod is viewed internally from upper floors of the building creating a dynamic space for the high volumes of people circulating through the building.
To highlight this important feature at the building’s main entrance, copper cladding was used to further contrast the form of the lecture theatres as a soft natural relief to the hard and sharply engineered terracotta cladding and steel clad exterior of the rest of the building.
Copper is used to wrap the whole of the pod that sits partly inside and outside the main atrium to blur the line between inside and out within the atrium main entrance foyer.
Oxidised copper was chosen for its pre-aged deep brown finish to minimise contrast between interior and exterior copper cladding as the exterior finish slowly ages over time.
Exposure of the copper cladding varies from deep shelter under the overhanging building, to the more exposed base resulting in progressive aging over time that will reflect the oversailing building as a reversed shadow, again in contrast to the surrounding hard materials of the main building, providing a slowly evolving natural feature at the building entrance.