HE Centre

Client: Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies
Budget: £3M
Completion: 2017

Allan Joyce Architects were appointed in 2014 by Confetti Media Group to help Confetti to provide new Higher Education teaching facilities. Growth at the NTU CQ is running at such a pace that it has been necessary to open up at least 6 extra teaching spaces each year. This has only been possible with a phased refurbishment of this building over the last 3 years. Works comprised the conversion of a Victorian lace factory building- drawing on the property’s manufacturing past, reinventing the original building to provide high quality and exciting education spaces.

Although not listed, the existing building is an important heritage asset on the periphery of the city centre conservation area. It was therefore important to approach the project sensitively, drawing on extensive conservation knowledge to incorporate a ‘lightness of touch’; expressing the industrial heritage of the building and retaining this atmosphere within the newly created spaces. Exposed brickwork and steel supporting structure are visible internally with the original steel frame windows retained. Modern interventions are designed to enhance the industrial aesthetic with exposed ductwork and services sitting comfortably against both old and new.

The Higher Education Centre is situated within a cluster of adjoining period buildings, all of which have been constructed at different times and originally conceived to be self-contained. As a result, the internal levels across the campus vary considerably. It was imperative that the new facilities were designed to connect into the wider complex and so consideration was given to linking both the existing facilities on campus alongside planned future additions. The resulting design resolves both the awkward internal circulation of the lace factory and the connection between adjoining buildings ensuring a clearly legible building for users to navigate.

Our design response involved the reinvention of a redundant, Victorian, lace factory in Nottingham’s Creative Quarter to form purpose made facilities for sound, events, gaming and music students. The 21st century teaching spaces are carefully integrated into old structure to build on the original industrial spaces.

The recording studios are within the lower ground floor with 3 floors of teaching spaces above. These include IT suites, Dolby recording studios and mastering suites plus TV studio for creative media and events students studying at the CICT HE Centre.

The project was phased and carried out in the summer vacations between academic years.

Phase 1 (May-October 2014)

Basement & Ground Floors – Music and sound labs were created alongside mixing studios, editing suites and meeting rooms with social and breakout spaces.

Phase 2 (May-October 2015)

First Floor – Flexible teaching spaces for gaming and video courses

Phase 3 (May-October 2017)

Second Floor – Flexible teaching spaces and new staircase to link the H.E. centre with the proposed new digital media hub.

The design was conceived to rationalise the floor plans of the building and zones a variety of learning spaces on each floor. This provides the client with flexibility to adapt learning spaces to suit the future needs of students. Moreover, work could be carried out in phases, releasing a group of new teaching spaces in readiness for each academic year and enabling the course and student intake requirements to be met.

Greg Marshalls, Director of Operations:

“We have worked with AJA for a number of years, we have always found their approaches to our projects to come with a depth of technical knowledge and a very high understanding of our business needs. AJA have been consistently strong at predicting the impact of design decisions on the end users which has helped us to make fast decisions and meet challenging build schedules”.