Higher Education

Client: Nottingham Trent University
Budget: £9.1M
Due for completion: June 2018

This new digital media hub sits at the centre of Nottingham Trent University’s Creative Quarter Campus in the city centre. The dynamic first-floor cantilever provides a visual marker in the street scene to highlight the joint college entrance for both the HE and FE campus buildings.


  • to accommodate the planned growth of 700 students from 2016-2020.
  • Improve student experience especially concerning catering facilities, social spaces and student resources.
  • BREEAM Excellent and EPC ‘A’ rating.

Design Solution

Our design aims were to give the campus legibility in the city and compliment the simplicity of the existing industrial buildings. The industrial references are achieved externally through the use of CorTen steel, which compliments the Victorian brickwork, and internally it enhances the student experience with the combination of finished concrete walls, soffits and floor to ceiling glazing whilst providing functional facilities. These include a central cafe, state of the art learning resource centre with secure digital area and 3 floors of top quality digital media/computer design labs.

Initially we produced a Feasibility Report, which involved:

  • Development of the brief/business plan with the client
  • Options appraisal for three sites
  • Sketch design of the preferred option

NTU Estates Team were very complimentary about the scale, bold form and the strong finishes suggested and in May 2016 appointed us to provide RIBA stage 1-3 architectural and principal designer services. Part of the brief was to work to an ambitious programme, having the building ready for students in September 2018.

Planning Permission was granted on the 21st December 2016.

The method of procurement was Design and Build. The technical design of the important elements was developed so that the quality could be specified pre-tender. This involved:

  • Development of the technical/detail design drawings
  • Co-ordination of the consultant’s detail design information
  • Preparing information for BREEAM requirements (excellent)
  • Contributing to Sustainability, Maintenance and Operational and Handover Strategies

We were novated to the successful contractor to complete the technical design for the construction stage of the project, coordinating the contractor design elements. We have also coordinated the design information from Confetti Constellations a NTU subsidiary who have prepared the interior design information. They will be completing this work over the summer 2018 post construction.


We improved accessibility and way finding across the campus by creating links into the adjoining teaching buildings and new student facilities.


Risk reduction – Through early engagement, the University operations team and supply chain could de-risk the site during preconstruction. This included asbestos removal and demolition of a former office building, archaeological dig and cave probing to inform the piling design.

Cost certainty – With a tight budget, it was essential to provide cost certainty at all stages of the project. We are delighted that through careful cost control/ value engineering, the contract price was delivered below the agreed cost plan.