© Jan Bitter

This faculty building for the University of Sheffield grew out of a master plan that had been drawn up by Sauerbruch Hutton. With three cranked wings for the Department of Modern Languages, the School of English and the Department of History, the building responds to a hetero­geneous environment between a busy road and roundabout on one side and a quieter campus area on the other. Each of the three wings picks up the height of its neighbouring buildings and defines outdoor spaces of differing character. An atrium forms the spatial and organisational hub of the new building; its location at the intersection of the departments allows it to function as an interdisciplinary meeting point on each floor. The university’s visitors’ centre is on the ground floor.

The façade, clad in stainless steel and coloured glass, appears as a woven textile that associates each department with a different colour range. The building is naturally ventilated throughout, with reversible solar shading in the double-layered windows. On the elevations that face the noisy road, supply air is drawn into the building via perforations in the stainless steel spandrels and a noise-absorbing chamber, while used air is exhausted via integrated convection shafts behind the bi-coloured vertical ribbons.

The building itself was conceived as a simple and robust structure. The requirement for low operating costs, functionality and sustainability is elevated here to the aesthetic logic of a strategy of sustainability beyond technology.

© noshe
© noshe
© Jan Bitter
© Jan Bitter
© Jan Bitter

brief

  • University building with offices, seminar rooms, visitor centre, exhibition spaces, café

client

  • The University of Sheffield

data

  • gross floor area: 5.900 m²
  • competition: 2006
  • 2006 — 2008