Work started this term on an exciting building project which will bring 400m² of new studio space over two floors to students at Wimbledon College of Arts. Due to be ready for the first term of the next academic year, the building has been designed by architects Penoyre & Prasad who are best known in London for their Rich Mix building in Shoreditch and whose distinctive design approach results in functional, sustainable and award winning buildings.
Sustainability is indeed key to the new studio building at Wimbledon, and is at the top of the University’s agenda for the project. The design aims to acheive an Outstanding grade under the world’s primary assessment criteria known as BREEAM. BREEAM sets the standard for best practice in sustainable building design, construction and operation and has become one of the most comprehensive and widely recognised measures of a building’s environmental performance.
Simon Betts, Dean of Wimbledon College of Arts, explained that to acheive this grade would be an extremely positive move for the college and the University: “The criteria for BREEAM are incredibly detailed and challenging but its really important to all of us involved in the project that we meet them. It will raise the profile of the project nationally and internationally, and will reflect the work being done at Wimbledon to intergrate issues of sustainability into the curriculumn”.
He describes the new studio block as being like a “living, breathing creature”. The functional materials that will be used for the build, along with the ambiently controlled lighting, will mean that the building will constantly adjust to the external environment. Solar panels will provide 100% of the energy required to light the space and will contribute to the heating. This contributes to the BREEAM Outstanding classification and will save the University money on energy bills.
Strict conditions have been set for the finished building and the conditions under which the construction will take place. The trees which border the site, and their roots, must be protected, and to ensure this takes place a tree surgeon is visiting the college twice a week!
Simon concluded: “Once completed, the new studios will give a lift to the area at the back of the college and a professional edge to the existing campus layout. The project has also provided a perfect opportuntiy to revisit the metal and plaster workshops behind, and ensure that together the buildings will make a more cohesive and thought-through resource centre for students.”
Keep an eye on the Wimbledon blog in future for more updates about the building work as it progresses!
Images © Penoyre & Prasad