Main Building Refurbishment

University of Hertfordshire

location | College Lane Campus, Hatfield  year | 2018  

MCW were appointed by the University of Hertfordshire in 2015 to progress design proposals for the Main Building on College Lane Campus. The project encompasses the phased refurbishment of 14,000 m2 of teaching, administrative and social space and the construction of a new 300 seat lecture theatre. The buildings currently house the 3 academic schools of Computer Science, Engineering & Technology and Physics, Astronomy & Mathematics and a number of centrally bookable teaching spaces of varying size. The current organisation of the schools and teaching space within the buildings is disparate having been developed in an ad-hoc manner over the years.

The project’s primary aspiration was to create spaces that will be fit for purpose with a significant improvement in the condition and suitability of this part of the University’s estate leading to a material enhancement of the student and staff experience on the College Lane Campus. The 3 academic Schools will achieve a greater sense of identity and functionality as a result of their greatly improved co-location and the integration of teaching and research roles.

There will be significant additional opportunities for student/staff interaction and ‘visible’ teaching, for cross-disciplinary interaction and for informal individual & collaborative study. The reorganisation of the size and number of teaching spaces leads to a substantial, if not complete reduction, in the accumulated deficit of the required capacities of timetabled teaching spaces. 

At the core of the project is the 300m long primary spine corridor, part of the original 1950’s buildings, which will be refurbished to provide a dynamic informal social learning environment running through the heart of the campus. This will offer students and staff places for study and socialising in addition to spaces for ‘pop-up’ events and exhibitions. The corridor is highly glazed along its length offering views into newly landscape courtyards.