MCW and University of Hertfordshire include ‘live’ student project into £28m refurbishment project

Hatfield | 21st June 2016

As architects working in the higher education sector, we are always on the lookout for opportunities to include student projects as part of our masterplan and design projects with Universities.

Having been appointed by the University of Hertfordshire as lead architect for the £28m refurbishment of the Main Building on their College Lane Campus, due for completion in 2019, presented us with a unique opportunity to team up with the University Estates & Hospitality Department, as well as the A-IAD (Architecture – Interior Architecture and Design) course to include students into the process.

The building forms the core of the original 1950’s estate and has at its core ‘Corridor D’ - the primary internal circulation spine running some 300m linking the various teaching blocks. The space has been inhabited over the decades with ad-hoc extension of adjacent space and has lost much of its original historical clarity. Following discussion with the course lecturers, Corridor D was identified as a ‘live’ student project for students studying A-IAD (Architecture – Interior Architecture and Design) – Level 5 – Design Studio 4. The brief was to rediscover this spatial clarity and provide a functional, attractive and exciting space that reflected the University’s strategic vision core values and supported the needs of students and staff.

MCW Architects, in conjunction with the University Estates & Hospitality Department, worked closely with senior lecturers to set the brief and collaborated with students reviewing the brief and their initial design proposals. 50 design proposal were submitted with 8 being shortlisted. A final review of the shortlisted scheme was completed with representation from MCW, UH Department of Estates & Hospitality and senior lecturers. A winner and two highly commended proposals were unanimously selected.