Crafting a custom calm space for students.
The INTO building provides a welcoming, safe living environment for overseas students to be introduced to the British higher education system. The living and teaching accommodation had to allow the students to be quickly integrated into the University of Exeter community.
With many of the students travelling from the Far East, one of the most interesting aspects of the project was the use of a Feng Shui specialist, who provided insight into how the architecture and the mechanical and electrical services could ensure the best environment.
Dialogue and decisions.
We engaged regularly with multiple stakeholders, including the university, INTO, potential users, estates officers and liaison officers based in some of the students’ countries of origin. There was great emphasis placed on learning from previous projects and experience, which included: room proportions, fire alarm system design (to avoid false alarms but maintain safety), high hot water consumption demands, meeting the needs of ‘out of term’ guests, connected IT and networking facilities, plus room booking and access systems.
The scheme evolved with a true partnership ethos and has been considered a highly successful project for the university. Great emphasis was placed on natural ventilation, bathrooms that could be pre-plumbed pods manufactured offsite, and meeting the university’s stringent carbon reduction agenda through renewable and low carbon technology, such as photovoltaics and rain-water harvesting. This high-quality building was constructed on time and within budget through a phased completion that was carefully executed; this ensured the newly arrived students of the first academic year weren’t housed in what felt like a building site, but instead had quality living spaces throughout their time at Exeter.