We were delighted to be approached by MMU to develop an under used courtyard space at the rear of the Righton Building for the relocated Hollings Faculty (previously resident at the Toast Rack in Fallowfield)
Hollings includes the Departments of Apparel, Tourism, Events and Food, Nutrition & Hospitality and creates links between the Creative Industries, Business and Science.
As the department is so diverse we wanted to design a space reflecting this which could be used for social events, exhibitions and degree shows, awards and student led initiatives. We also wanted to bring colour and warmth to what was intrinsically a very shaded, enclosed and cold space.
Using a recycled deck board material (made from a mixture of bamboo fibres & recycled plastics) we created a raised platform with access ramp and step perimeter (also enabling considerable seating areas in warmer weather) and within the centre of the space a glazed pod was installed with 4 double leaf sliding doors enabling the whole pod to be opened up and be accessible from all sides. The pod was fitted with ceiling heaters and lighting thereby providing a sheltered space in cold and rainy weather.
The structure was fabricated and hot dip Galvanised locally providing an enormously durable and long lasting framework – this was then delivered in kit form for easy and quick erection on site.
Around the main open deck we installed large Galvanised steel planters with integrated seating elements and planted with mature olive trees and box hedge cut into cloud like forms.
For furniture we used a combination of Plank Myto chairs and Andreu World “Reverse” tables, these can be used both in the pod and outside on the decking when required, the all weather designs are also stackable and easily reconfigurable to enable a range of seating and dining combinations. To further enhance the creative possibilities a large 5 x 3 metre video screen was mounted on the end wall which is linked to the faculty wi-fi and enables student work, digital pieces and MMU branding to be displayed.
We also commissioned a local manufacturer to create a mobile Barista point (in this case a fully weatherproof Trike) which dispenses a fantastic range of fresh coffee & tea for use within the courtyard and more widely around the campus as and when needed.
Keeping in with the overall sustainability direction of MMU all materials and fittings were sourced based on a criterion of sustainability, environmentally friendly materials and providing inherent robustness and long life so that the space can be fully used for years to come.
We were very proud of the outcome and are once again are delighted to have collaborated with the university to deliver such a dynamic and forward thinking scheme – we really feel its one of the best pieces of work that we have recently completed.
The project was completed within budget and timescale within a 12 week build programme.
Many thanks to Haydn Rydings for his fantastic photographs.