This evolving scheme for University of Westminster reflects the dramatic changes in funding for Higher Education. The end result is a really good example of how refurbishment and new build can be effectively combined.
The various schemes to consolidate the School of Media, Arts and Design on Westminster's Harrow Campus have had to respond to the dramatic changes in funding for Higher Education in recent years. What has emerged is a very relevant model of using limited funds to link existing buildings with new space that works hard. It provides much needed facilities for social learning, gallery exhibition and catering facilities which will help encourage new connections between what are currently isolated Departments. The existing pedestrian routes, access roads, signage, lighting and landscape have been thoughtfully reconsidered to create a new user friendly campus with a highly legible, articulate and popular image.
The first phase of work was completed over the Summer of 2011 - adding informal learning space to the Library. This 'early win' has shown the users that change and improvements can happen even against the current backdrop of cuts in arts funding. Since this early package of works, refurbishment of the Fine Art and Fashion Studio's has also been undertaken, complimented by the construction of the 'Forum', the new front door and social heart of the academic Campus.
“This project has really made us think differently about the spaces at Harrow. The Forum has given the campus a new identity and sense of character. Whether you are someone who regularly studies or works there, or a visitor, we can all take a pride in the new setting and feel part of a creative academic community.”
Trevor Wills Director of Estates
The third phase of the project was completed in May 2015 and saw the remodelling of various underused storage spaces into a state-of-the-art recording studio, flexible project space and fashion ‘mock shop’. As part of the third phase the existing staff offices were also refurbished to create an all new ‘Faculty Hub’ for the Dean, heads of department and registry staff, to foster a more welcoming interface between staff and students.
The final phase will focus on linking the remaining academic buildings with the extension of a double height atrium through the spine of the campus.
“The new administrative hub has transformed the way we work and interact as a team. The inviting, open and airy space fosters both: face to face and virtual communication and collaboration, while it at the same time also supports quiet and confidential working requirements. It has created a benchmark for the further development of staff work spaces on Harrow campus.”
Mandy Addison Faculty Registrar, Faculty of Media, Arts and Design, University of Westminster