university of kent has reached practical completion
31 March 2017
The new Sibson Building at The University of Kent has reached practical completion. The new academic building for Kent Business School (KBS) and the School of Mathematics, Statistics & Actuarial Science (SMSAS) creates a vibrant new campus destination, bringing together academics, students, researchers and administrative staff from KBS and SMSAS.
Through its careful positioning amongst the existing trees and KBS accommodation, the new building makes the most of its woodland setting offering views out under and through the tree canopies. Externally, seating and gathering areas have been created and new pathways are integrated within the adjacent woodland. The Landscape is integral to the design and function of the building. A café area, breakout spaces and a staff terrace offer both staff and students opportunities to be amongst the woodland. New and improved pathways allow easy connection to the centre of campus, either by bike or by foot. There will also be further connections made to the existing network of cycle and footpaths, which lead to the Parkwood Residences and the Sports facilities, improving the integration of the eastern and western sides of the campus. New covered and secured cycle stores and improvements to the Parkwood Road bus stops support these connections further and integrate them into the wider transport network.
From the outset, minimising the ecological impact of the building has been a key factor in the development of the design. We have worked closely with the Ecologists and Arboriculturalist which resulted in a re-positioning of the building to avoid key tree specimens, the retention of ground flora and habitat wherever possible and the inclusion of a brown roof that complements the bio-diversity of the existing woodland. The University is also committed to planting new woodland in the local area and introducing hedgerow enhancements and management of the existing woodland which will improve habitat connectivity and diversity. Sustainable design lies at the heart of the proposals. It has been awarded BREEAM ‘Excellent’ Certification and has looked to minimise energy use throughout. This includes making use of natural daylighting and ventilation wherever possible, exposing the building’s thermal mass to allow passive night-time cooling and incorporation of high performance LED lighting, heating systems and building fabric. Further to these measures to reduce energy use, the building includes a rooftop photo-voltaic array, providing at least 10% of the building’s in-use energy demands from a renewable source.
The new building provides new build academic spaces including workspaces, research space and administration and reception areas. The learning spaces include 3 lecture theatres, seminar rooms and dedicated MBA and IT suites as well as new social learning spaces. The envisaged hub of teaching, learning and working will allow two of the University of Kent’s most successful departments to expand and improve their current activities, as well as strengthen their position within the higher education market place. Most importantly, it will offer KBS and SMSAS a new home to express their identity and character.
Link to timelapse video from the University of Kent