2016 has seen us continue our work for the University of Nottingham’s Student Union to realise their ambitious plans to create a new, dynamic hub within the existing Portland Building. Phase 2 focuses largely on creating greater connection with the University’s parkland setting, responding directly to a key aspiration of the student’s union. An existing but narrow and bland terrace adjacent to the Mooch bar is extended, creating greater social and performance space for use throughout the year. Having established a faith zone anchored around an existing chapel, a peace garden is created by extending a narrow fire escape route into a quiet contemplation space with fixed seating and integrated sensory planting. At the very top of the building, the existing food court finally engages with its balcony terrace to create a seating area with commanding views over the lake.
A significant challenge presented by the building was it’s confusing circulation and lack of a clear and distinctive entrance. Phase 2 rectifies this: the natural entrance from Portland Hill has been improved with generous circulation and a large format LED video screen, whilst staircases start to receive the ‘red’ identity of the new vertical circulation strategy to be completed in future phases.