‘Simultaneously improving the University retail offer and student experience’
Northumbria University is situated in the heart of Newcastle upon Tyne and has established a global reputation for academic excellence, and is highly regarded as one of the best universities for student satisfaction in the UK. In recent years as the University has expanded in student numbers, it has also expanded its estates from the historic ‘student centre’ of the University at City Campus West to the recently constructed City Campus East.
In September 2013 Northumbria University commissioned +3 Architecture to produce a Feasibility Study to look at the physical possibilities of a new retail provision within the existing City Campus. This study followed on from a retail study undertaken by VM-Unleashed which identified the need for improved, consolidated, and correctly located retail space at the University which could substantially increase retail sales. The Feasibility Study looked at the need to improve campus retailing with the overarching desire to also improve student experience in the University, and identified a number of opportunities where retail outlets could be positioned, as well as wider reaching opportunities for ‘knitting together’ and improving the University’s existing public space.
Following on from this study, +3 Architecture were asked to develop the design of a retail opportunity identified at the heart of the City Campus West, within the existing student quadrangle. Our proposals consisted of a new and highly visible 200sqm retail store located adjacent the main pedestrian walkway through the University. In addition to this, our thinking strayed beyond the confines of the retail store and identified the opportunity to improve the outdoor public space through knitting together some of the disparate buildings which currently define the quadrangle, by introducing a common language across the facades at ground floor level. Finally, the vision for the new store and public space was united through a new roof canopy which defines an entrance to the University, funnels pedestrians into this quadrangle, and simultaneously brings students towards the new retail facility.
Northumbria University: Newcastle upon Tyne
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