UCLan chooses architect for £8.15m social spaces

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has selected multi-award winning architecture practice, AHR, to design its planned £8.15m student social spaces.

AHR will head up a 13-strong design team which has been established to ensure input and ownership from the people who will use the spaces as well as those who will manage and run the facilities.

The design team is made up of key representatives from UCLan including chief operating officer Michael Ahern and the new Students’ Union president, Sana Iqbal.

Part of UCLan’s £200m Masterplan, the new social spaces are expected to be completed by autumn 2017 and will further improve the campus experience for students, encouraging people to remain on campus for longer.

“The University is determined that the first delivery from the Masterplan will substantially benefit existing students, which is why the new Student Social Spaces are the first new facilities that will open.”

Foster Building will be extended to include areas for break out activities and informal spaces for social learning.

Key design features will include glass roofs and an indoor hidden garden, as well as moveable furniture so students can reconfigure the space to suit their needs.

Michael Ahern, chief operating officer for UCLan, said: “The University is determined that the first delivery from the Masterplan will substantially benefit existing students, which is why the new Student Social Spaces are the first new facilities that will open. It’s great fun to do as the designs are being heavily led by the Students’ Union, their creativity and deep understanding of what students want is invaluable.”

Robert Hopkins, regional director at AHR, said: “The university experience is so much broader than formal learning and UCLan has recognised this in the Social Space project. It’s an exciting project to be working on, collaborating so closely with the student body to ensure these spaces deliver exactly what they want, resulting in a campus they will stay on for longer and a better student experience overall.”

“We’re keen to work in partnership with the University to create a space that will meet the needs of a variety of students and provide a much needed communal area on campus. ”

Sana Iqbal, Students’ Union president, said: “The Student Affairs Committee welcomes the opportunity to have a lead role in the design development process for the Student Social Spaces project, led by AHR. We’re keen to work in partnership with the University to create a space that will meet the needs of a variety of students and provide a much needed communal area on campus.”

The student social spaces project is expected to be completed in Autumn 2017 and is part of UCLan’s £200 million Masterplan to strengthen and enhance the University as it develops, creating a world-class campus compatible with UCLan’s status as one of the UK’s largest universities. Delivered over the next 10 years, the plan will integrate seamlessly with the rest of the city, benefiting current and future generations of students, staff, visitors and the wider community.

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