A £6m development at 23 Goldsmith Street is now providing an exciting new office building for the staff and students of Nottingham Trent University (NTU) thanks to transformative designs by CPMG Architects.
The building’s bold architectural form and high quality externally facing materials – such as buff brick work, reconstituted stone and bronze adonised aluminium with vertical glass fins – have transformed the derelict brownfield site into a distinctive and attractive addition to Nottingham’s skyline. The development consists of three-storeys of modern open plan offices and purpose-built meeting rooms, with an exhibition area operating on the ground floor to showcase student events and promote internationalism.
Meeting the needs of the client
Before the new development, the location was a semi-collapsed ruin after a devastating fire in 2010. The building was originally purchased to remove the potentially dangerous eyesore from the street scene opposite the university’s Newton Building. Nottingham Trent University wanted to give the site a new lease of life by constructing a high quality facility to support and integrate international and UK students. The striking building has significantly improved the aesthetics of the street and will not only provide a modern working environment for university staff, but a spacious exhibition space for future events and initiatives.
Natural light is a vital resource in our working environment
Nick Gregory, director at CPMG Architects, said: “We needed to respond sensitively to this important site located at the gateway into the NTU city centre campus. The project required a holistic, forward-thinking approach due to the constraints of an extremely tight and narrow site – bounded on all sides by entertainment venues and a tram line.”
Integrating lighting and space to support wellbeing and learning
Exposure to natural light is a vital resource in our working environment and is key to improving our physical and psychological wellbeing. To create a happier, healthier environment for the building’s end users, the design team needed to draw in as much light as possible.
Nick adds: “As the building has only two external walls, strategic planning was required to allow natural light into the office spaces used most intensively. The building’s primary circulation was located against the party walls along with meeting spaces and WC provision. Floor to ceiling windows on the long north façade benefitted from chamfered reveals to improve light penetration and improve views out to the street.
The open plan, working spaces were created to enable future flexibility and alternative desk configurations without an adverse effect on the wellbeing dynamics.
The ground floor is set into the site due to the site topography and has been transformed into a multi-functional global student lounge that is used for exhibitions, drop-in areas and a student hub – all areas that didn’t require the need for natural light.
Achieving the goal through early planning
The project development was a challenging task due to the inherent constraints of the site, however early consultation with the planning department and with a sensitivity to neighbouring buildings allowed the team to meet the brief of the client.
Nick added: “Stakeholders have welcomed the new facilities provided and are astounded by the utilisation of the site and its addition to the street scene. The meeting room and pro vice-chancellor’s office situated at the front of the building are said to be amongst the best rooms on campus with stunning views of the iconic Newton Building and the activity surrounding Newton Arkwright link.
“The hard work of the design team contributed greatly to the success of the project – it was a truly collaborative effort.
“We’re pleased to have worked with Nottingham Trent University to transform this derelict brownfield site into a distinctive and attractive addition to the Nottingham skyline. The striking building has significantly improved the aesthetics of the street and will not only provide a modern working environment for university staff, but a spacious exhibition space for future events and initiatives. I hope the staff enjoy their new offices within the city.”
The design team consisted of project manager and cost consultants Gleeds, CPMG as architects and interior designers, structural engineers Curtins and M&E consultants CPW with G F Tomlinson acting as main contractors.
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CPMG is an award-winning architectural practice based in Nottingham and London with extensive experience in both the public and private sectors. The practice prides itself on having a talented workforce, combining strong design skills with intent to surpass clients’ expectations through collaborative working and successful delivery.
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