Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

This site uses cookies. By using our services, you agree to our cookie use.
Learn more here.

Competition: New Engineering and Design Facility, University of Plymouth

The University of Plymouth is holding a contest for a new 10,650m² low-energy engineering, art, design and architecture faculty (Deadline: 30 July)

The ‘competitive dialogue’ process, launched by the RIBA, will select a team to deliver a combined home for the university’s School of Engineering and School of Art, Design and Architecture on a prominent site on the western fringe of the university’s city centre campus.

The New Engineering and Design Facility project will reconfigure and refurbish the existing 1970s Babbage Building and create a 3,140m² extension. Between three and five multidisciplinary teams will be invited to participate in the dialogue phase involving design-approach workshop sessions prior to the submission of final tenders in early October.

Babbage Building, University of Plymouth

Babbage Building, University of Plymouth

Source: Image by N Chadwick

Babbage Building, University of Plymouth

Trevor Wills, director of estates and facilities at the university said: ‘The New Engineering and Design Facility is part of our long-term vision to create a sustainable campus that both educates and inspires.

‘It will offer a state-of-the-art setting for the engineers and designers of tomorrow, giving us the ultimate place to bring together students, academics and industry in an environment that not only benefits them but also society as a whole.’

The University of Plymouth has around 21,600 students and 2,900 staff staff, and is based on a campus next to the city’s main station. In April, it emerged the university was considering 100-to-150 redundancies amid falling student numbers, according to Plymouth Live

Key campus landmarks include the copper-clad Roland Levinsky Building by Henning Larsen and BDP, The House performing arts centre by Burwell Deakins, and Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios’ Plymouth School of Creative Arts.

Babbage Building, University of Plymouth

Babbage Building, University of Plymouth

Source: Image by N Chadwick

Babbage Building, University of Plymouth

Last month, the city’s other centre for higher education – Plymouth Marjon University – launched a search for a masterplanner to rethink its suburban campus.

The latest project will upgrade and extend the four-storey Babbage Building which is named after the nineteenth century English mathematician Charles Babbage.

The new complex will feature digital fabrication and rapid prototyping facilities and is intended to boost links between the university and businesses.

How to apply

Deadline

The deadline for applications is midday local time, 30 July

Contact details

RIBA Competitions
No 1 Aire Street
Leeds
LS1 4PR

Tel: 0113 203 1490
Email: riba.competitions@riba.org 

View the contract notice for more information

University of Strathclyde Learning and Teaching Building case study: Q&A with Christoph Ackermann

The architect principal at BDP discusses lessons learned creating a new teaching facility for the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow

How did your project expand an existing building to create a landmark new facility for the University of Strathclyde?

The BDP-led design team undertook an initial feasibility study which reviewed and compared a number of possible options for the Learning and Teaching Project (LTP). This study, in collaboration with a separate student survey, concluded that a refurbishment and extension of the existing Architecture and Colville Building would provide the best option for the University. The two buildings are located at the heart of the campus next to Rottenrow Garden, and the resulting Learning and Teaching Project will provide a central focal point for the University.

University of Strathclyde Learning and Teaching Building by BDP

University of Strathclyde Learning and Teaching Building by BDP

University of Strathclyde Learning and Teaching Building by BDP

Which architectural, material, visual and other methods did you harness in your design?

The two buildings were both built in the late 1960s but are fundamentally different. The Architecture Building is a Grade B-listed building, any work and alteration needs to be sympathetic to the original design and materials used. The Colville Building is a precast concrete building with enhanced floor to floor heights and the option of large open plan spaces. The spatial qualities of the Colville Building allowed us to include the large-scale teaching and social spaces the University required. It will also host the relocated Student Union and Student Engagement Services. The circulation of the Colville Building was improved by a triple height new build extension on North Portland Street which improves legibility and circulation while also connecting the Colville Building and the Architecture Building to form the new LTP.

University of Strathclyde Learning and Teaching Building by BDP

University of Strathclyde Learning and Teaching Building by BDP

University of Strathclyde Learning and Teaching Building by BDP

What advice would you have to contest participants on expanding and revamping the Babbage Building at the University of Plymouth?

I am not familiar with this particular building. However I would strongly recommend undertaking a detailed building survey to ensure that the building, particularly the structure and escape provisions, can accommodate the brief. Early engagement with all stakeholders is vital to understand and manage their respective aspirations and requirements. Finally, it is important to work with the existing building, not against it – understand the opportunities and constraints.

University of Strathclyde Learning and Teaching Building by BDP

University of Strathclyde Learning and Teaching Building by BDP

University of Strathclyde Learning and Teaching Building by BDP

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.