Experience with building the three new lecture theatres on the city campus had made
it clear that it was necessary to plan the technology support at the earliest possible
stage. The University had, within its Learning Support Services Division, expertise
and experience at handling major audio-visual installations - though this particular
project taxed that experience to the limit, because of its unique factors.
The project involved a partnership between the University Estates Division,
Learning Support Services, the architects (email link), the city planners, the funding bodies
and a commercial AV provider with the Estates Division forming the
prime link between the external design team and 'the University'.
CONSULTATION WITH THE LOCAL AUTHORITY
At the time of design, the building was not listed (though it has been since).
However, both to satisfy the planners rightful concerns and our own sense of
architectural integrity, the work was not to be visible from the exterior of the
building. The final scheme involved extensive consultation with the local authority
in terms of how it affected the existing building and how much of the original
architectural features could be retained. (Those who see the final result are normally
Means of Escape
Naturally, a major concern of the project was that of means of escape. The lecture
theatres were to be designed to seat a large number of students - but, in the worst
possible case, the same number could be waiting 'outside' ready for the next
'changeover'. This was without the occupants of the other rooms surrounding the
quadrangle and in the adjacent Learning Centre.
We knew that the circulation and safety of such large numbers was a difficult
logistical problem to solve, and this also involved a lot of meetings with the local
authority building control officers and the fire safety officer.
Virtual Environments Visualisation