A considered approach was clearly required to the design and construction of the new Simon Smith Building. Allies & Morrison Architects were appointed to deliver the building, with their competition winning proposal for a slim three storey building wrapped in a ‘casket’ of terracotta rainscreen cladding.
Achieving long term flexibility was key to ensure the building remained as far as possible fit for its uses into the future. Other key drivers were the college’s ambition to realise a timber based form of construction, the BREEAM Very Good requirement, and achieving successful delivery in a landlocked part of the campus overlooked on all sides by occupied buildings. The result is a structural form of CLT cross laminated timber floor plates supported on an un-braced steel frame which gives the spatial flexibility needed. Large open plan spaces for common room and the cafeteria already take advantage of this, whilst the exposed timber soffits provide an honesty to the language of the interiors. Fluid were also closely involved with the design of the terracotta vertical ‘baguette’ facade, one of the first constructed in this way in Europe.