The UWC Arts Project involved the introduction of a New Collaborative Research Facility, forming part of the Arts faculty and located within the university’s arts precinct. The new Centre accommodates an Entrance Foyer, two 40-seater Classrooms, four Research Facilities, the Dean of Arts’ office, toilet and other support facilities.
The role of this new Centre needed to be understood in the context of the densification and optimisation of the current building stock through strategic additions which both improve efficiency and work to consolidate and improve legibility of the campus’s structure and organisation. The size of the facility needed to fit into a prescribed budget.
The proposed densification approach takes the form of an infill building, of which the success factors are efficiency of new building work, the optimisation of assignable area [ASM] and the strategic placement of new space relative to departments so as to provide easy, shared access to facilities and create new linkages. Spatial reorganisation/reallocation allows for the clustering of particular research facilities within close proximity to centrally located, flexible spaces. The new addition contributes to the UWC Campus’s spatial system by interlinking spaces and hierarchies.
The buildings making up the Arts Complex, namely the Old Arts building and the New Arts building, are two separate structures, the former being two storeys and the latter three storeys. The respective levels of each floor of each building are not at the same height. The Old Arts building is inter-linked to a complex of lecture rooms housing the Cafeteria in Block B, and through C, to the Great Hall. The New Arts building lies parallel to the Old Arts building and the two are separated by a series of courtyards. A separate lecture building block named DL lies to the south east.
The new building had to be strategically positioned in relation to existing facilities and research units/departments so as to provide easy, shared access to the new facilities and enable knowledge-sharing and cross collaboration. Ideally the new spaces should allow for a spatial reorganisation or reallocation so as to allow for the clustering of particular research facilities to be together, and within close proximity to centrally located, flexible space.
The new development aims to address the problem of a lack of identity in the Arts Faculty and forms a distinctive element which signifies the Arts complex. The new Foyer, introduced at the existing New Arts Wing, aids the legibility of entrance and arrival to the Arts Faculty and is intended to promote the three research centres. A gallery or circulation space in which works of art or artefacts can be exhibited forms part of that entrance area. The circulation between the existing buildings are linked and universal access concerns are addressed, as well as other compliance issues. The type of accommodation provided is essentially flexible floor space that can be appropriated differently over time as needs develop.