UNStudio and its team of collaborators have won a competition design a new extension for the Business School for the Creative Industries at UCA Epsom in Farnham, England. Modeled after the historical “Salon of the Enlightenment,” the proposed building will encourage interaction and collaboration throughout the campus with its light-filled design, open circulation, and diversity of gathering spaces and meeting nodes. As part of UNStudio’s commitment to environmentally sustainable design, the new construction will also feature future-proofed energy and water infrastructure and source the majority of the building materials from carbon neutral, renewable sources.

Covering an area of a little over 40,000 square feet, the new Building School extension will provide supplementary spaces for the current facility, as well as new undergraduate and post-graduate programs. The design comprises three types of spaces: Creative Spaces that encourage co-working in an open-plan environment and hot desks; Focus Spaces that include labs, seminar rooms and tutorial rooms; and, at the intersection of these former two spaces, Knowledge Exchange, where spontaneous meetings, collaboration and conversation take place in a social core named The Fireplace. This central gathering space for knowledge sharing will be combined with an elevated circulation ring that visually and physically connects the existing and new buildings.

“Salons provided fascinating opportunities for debate for intellectuals from all walks of life,” says Ben van Berkel, Founder of UNStudio in a press statement. “Artists, scientists, philosophers, politicians; they all gathered to debate the concerns of their time, cross-fertilising and mutually influencing each other’s ideas along the way. Facilitating such exchange of ideas forms the core of the design for the new Business School.” UNStudio created the competition-winning design in collaboration with John Robertson Architects, Grant Associates, Atelier Ten, and AKT II.

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Access to nature and the outdoors is also a key component of the design. The extension will open up to a covered courtyard and adjacent internal garden through walls of glass to blur the boundaries between indoors and out. The abundance of glazing will also maximize natural lighting to minimize dependence on artificial lighting. To further reduce the building’s environment footprint, the architects will implement smart technology that will learn occupancy energy usage patterns over time.

+ UNStudio

Images via UN Studio