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UCLan Student Centre and University Square

A space dedicated to students, socialising, and studying

The new Student Centre creates a dramatic ‘front door’ between the university and the city, firmly establishing the campus within the city centre.

Offering a range of different and flexible spaces, the new Student Centre is designed to feel like a student space rather than a departmental space.

Invoking a sense of student ‘ownership’, the various spaces – from vibrant social areas to quiet study spots – have been designed to facilitate social interaction, collaboration and learning.

The curving façade of the new building embraces the public square. A high colonnade offers visitors and passers-by shade and shelter, drawing the square into the building and allowing a welcome transition between inside and out.

This open space continues inside the building, with a full-height atrium forming the social heart of the Student Centre – a space that can be used for informal performances, talks or events.

Taking inspiration from both Preston’s textile industry heritage and its future in aerospace and electronics, the design features references to the idea of filaments, circuit routes, and threads, which act as an analogy to the path that a student takes through life and learning at university.

The threads are used in the landscape as illuminated elements, drawing people toward the entrance of the building, while the stepped central space of the building is a confluence through which the threads are guided, emerging in St Peter’s Square and continuing as a landscape element through the University.

Project details

Project name: UCLan Student Centre and University Square

Location: Preston, UK

Service: Sustainable design, Digital design

Value: £50M – £100M

Scope: Architecture, Interior design

Clients: University of Central Lancashire

Status: Complete

Completion date: 2021

Accreditation: BREEAM Excellent, EPC A

Multidisciplinary engineer: BDP

Landscape architect: Plincke

Lighting art design: Jason Bruges Studio

Project manager & cost consultancy: AECOM

Photography: Jack Hobhouse, Adrian Lambert

Video: Jack Hobhouse


RIBA Regional Award 2023

RTPI Awards (North West) 2023
Planning Excellence - Winner

If you want to know more about our education and research work, contact Julia Roberts

If you want to know more about our interior design work, contact Morag Morrison