Architects: Bond Bryan Architects
Bond Bryan Associate Director: Zubin Masters
Project Managers: Thornton Firkin
Services Engineers: BSD
Civil/Structural Engineers: MLM Consulting
Contractor: Willmott Dixon Construction
Construction Value: £7m
Completion Date: Summer 2017
Gross Internal Floor Area: 2400 sq.m
BREEAM Sustainability Rating: Excellent
iMET (Innovation Manufacturing Engineering Technology) is a new training concept being developed to support growth and economic development in the East of England. iMET will deliver technical, advanced and higher vocational skills training in Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology to regional industry by providing specialist equipment in a modern environment with excellent transport links.
Using our experience of creating environments for Education and Advanced Manufacturing Bond Bryan were able to support Huntingdonshire Regional College and its partners to develop a brief and design for this unique facility.
The proposed site for the iMET Building is within the Alconbury Weald Development. The building is sited at the nucleus of the Enterprise Campus, which is part of the wider development plans for the 575 hectare former Alconbury Weald Airfield into a new community comprising 5,000 new homes, school, employment opportunities, green space and community facilities.
The design solution brings together traditional teaching spaces, specialist workshops and laboratories and collaborative work environments into a simple and flexible two storey building. Double height workshops provide space for a larger scale training and a teaching wing provides smaller scale training rooms and specialist laboratories. Between these a flexible collaboration space provides opportunities for informal group and project work as well as offering a venue for employer events.
The architectural language is driven by the desire to create a simple but distinctive contemporary building that reflects the underlying design concepts and draws on the precedents for high quality design already established with the existing buildings completed on the Alconbury Enterprise Campus; the Incubator and Hub, to provide a cohesive campus feel.
A key feature of the building is the perforated metal skin overlaying the base layer panels wrapping the façade. The perforated aluminium ‘rainscreen’ system aims to provide a striking and distinctive image for the new centre. The skin incorporates interplay of solid and void, using differing sizes of perforations to orchestrate varying levels of transparency and areas of both light and shadow. This will transform the industrial form from a typical black box environment to a light filled space with a strong visual connection to the outside. Functionally the perforated skin also serves to provide solar shading and glare control where necessary.
The design aims to create an economic and flexible solution that will nevertheless create a distinctive, high quality addition to the campus that reflects the importance of the new facility.