We recognise the changing needs of the education market and have developed tailored services in response.
Over the years we’ve worked with our partners to improve the learning environments of the next generation, recognising our responsibility to create spaces where people of all ages can learn, innovate and build our future.
Our people have years of experience transforming schools, colleges and higher education institutes so that they, and their students, can reach their fullest potential.
By using the full breadth of our people’s expertise, we can provide a range of solutions to the education sector from architecture to multidisciplinary design to project and change management and IT consultancy.
A tool to help organisations put people’s wellbeing at the heart of their building design.
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Designs for the proposed new Lowestoft Sixth Form College use a technically driven solution to maximise passive low carbon design features, minimising the need for more costly renewable technologies.
Atkins provided full architectural, structural, mechanical, and electrical services for Jumeirah English Speaking School in Dubai, which was designed with sustainability in mind.
St Jean’s Molenbeek
St Jean’s was the first new school to be built in central Brussels for over 25 years and Atkins developed the designs for this community-based project.
We are currently working on a portfolio of projects for Bournemouth University, including a new landmark building to provide specialist facilities for the Faculty of Media and Communication and the Faculty of Science and Technology.
We offer a comprehensive range of in-house multidisciplinary services which enable us to take a holistic approach to projects.
Atkins provides multidisciplinary design and project management services in all areas of education – nursery, primary, secondary, universities, colleges and adult/further education establishments. Our projects entail design of extensions, refurbishments and new buildings.
We have the capacity to build and manage information systems that track pupil and student performance, and can deliver both server- and internet-based educational content. We can procure, install and manage all ICT and computer requirements for home, school or college. We can secure high-speed bandwidth for internet-based services and installation of wired or wireless infrastructure for both local and long-distance network requirements.
Consultancy and training
We offer expertise in efficiency reviews and change management. As an integral part of our clients’ teams and drawing on our experience in the education sector, we help manage changes efficiently and effectively.
As designers we can never look at a building on its own; we have to consider the human element. Our job is to take on the balancing act of satisfying low energy requirements while always keeping in mind the health and wellbeing of building occupants.
In higher education there are some big facts we need to take into consideration. According to Universities UK, in 2015-16 there were 2.28 million students studying at UK higher education institutions and of those, 80% of the buildings that they studied in were built before the 2010 Energy Regulations were brought into place. So a large proportion of our 2.28 million students are learning in an environment that will be largely energy inefficient by today’s standards. Another fact is that 46% of the UK’s total carbon output is from buildings. In order for the UK to achieve the promise of reducing 80% of its greenhouse gasses by 2050, we’ll need to ensure our existing university estates are refurbished in a focussed and pragmatic manner, whilst not forgetting or side lining the occupant’s health and wellbeing needs along the way.
To address this crucial balancing act between lower energy needs and a higher quality built environment, we’ve developed an innovative Refurbishment Assessment Tool. This tool has been designed to evaluate the potential health of existing building stock, helping universities to understand the suitability of performing key building upgrades. A real focus is on the passive elements of the design that also exploit the usability of the space,
This knowledge economy is changing the old hierarchy of faculty over campus. Where previously space was divided and distinguished between faculties, it is now often organised into formal and informal spaces. Mixed use, informal and collaborative spaces create hotbeds for efficient knowledge exchange and innovation.
And it’s not just physical spaces that are changing. We’re also facing a virtual revolution where knowledge can be shared through any number of platforms, with multiple interactions occurring simultaneously. Is physical space still relevant in our virtual world? Why should a student go to their campus if they can access almost all of their learning online? Students have more choice now than ever before when it comes to their working habits and methods of communication. In turn, they demand more from their environments and expect them to accommodate both physical and virtual interactions. Physical spaces must now provide the same ease of exchange, ability to switch between work/live/play, and high levels of engagement as their virtual counterparts.
With monumental changes like these afoot, we as designers face five key challenges when creating the universities of the future.
1. Knowledge is exchanged both inside and outside buildings
The traditional division between building and masterplan are no longer sufficient. Informal spaces thrive between these and are inherently public, inclusive and inviting through their design; they are best placed at junctions, outward facing and mixed-use. Urban scale spaces now perform functions once held in a single building, so to create truly interactive spaces we have to look at
With universities becoming more and more customer-focused, what’s the impact on how they design their estates and new buildings? Campuses are having to improve their offer to meet the increasingly demanding expectations of fee-paying students, academic staff and grant-awarding bodies.
Industries like the car manufacturing and consumer electronics have sophisticated ways of measuring their customers’ wants and needs. But when it comes to architecture and the built environment, how do we know what our customers really want?
It is accepted wisdom that great, new spaces can be inspirational and promote wellbeing and mindfulness. But how long does the effect persist, particularly when other factors - such as imminent exams - drive behaviours and perceptions. What will have a real and lasting impact on wellbeing and, more importantly, can we codify it so that we can mass produce it, reliably and efficiently, across the higher education sector?
At Atkins, we’ve taken Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) seriously for some time. The award-winning Law School at Northumbria University is an example of how we engaged users to find out ‘how it was for them’. These exercises have given us a wealth of data to better understand how the spaces we design have an impact on occupant satisfaction and performance. We’re now on a mission to transform this data into information that can be embedded into our digital design tools. The world of BIM facilitate this, but we also need design tools that connect this information to our design outputs.
With our development of a suite of
One answer could be to adopt a tactical strategy, a community focused scrummage so to speak, which seeks to bind its participants in a common goal – access to health and wellbeing for all. In adopting this strategy, universities would need to reach out and touch their communities, provide a period of pause to truly inspect, listen and take stock of their communities’ needs, and only then formulate a plan to engage.
At the University of South Wales (USW) this strategy is fully understood, and central to their ethos. The university’s message is a societal one, concerning itself with not only how to continue to deliver reputable academic courses, but with the ideals of social inclusion and how the university can tackle it head on in its own community. USW actively ask and address the questions of ‘How do we contribute to society?’ and ‘How can we make a difference to people’s lives?’. Since the opening of USW’s Sports Park in 2006, partnerships with external bodies have been strengthened and new ones forged, resulting in significant new routes for the university and the wider community. Students are now able to contribute and add value with their knowledge base and enthusiasm, by working with Health Boards and engaging in exercise referral programmes amongst many other ventures.
USW is now among the UK leaders in sport and exercise science research, and students are taught by lecturers who are at the forefront of their field. Their facilities are regularly used by international
The Public Library building is planned as part of the Nabta Town Masterplan in the region of Borg Al Arab, Egypt. Nabta Town, a sustainable mixed-use urban development in the Middle East, is a uniquely smart, urban real estate masterplan that incorporates world-class academic institutions, cultural, leisure and commercial centres, a business park, generous public spaces and holistic housing neighbourhoods.
The brief proposes a multiuser learning facility that caters to the needs of both the public and students from nearby academic facilities. The design emphasises an architectural language that is deeply rooted within its context, which encourages the user to ponder, innovate and explore. It forms a landmark public space that encourages dialogue through culturally stimulating spaces that are reminiscent of Egypt’s vibrant heritage.
Richmond Education and Enterprise Campus is a 20,000sqm development featuring a new, state-of-the-art further education college, as well as a new free school, a special educational needs (SEN) school and a Technology Hub run by Haymarket Publishing. The regeneration of the existing site at Richmond-upon-Thames College will deliver an integrated, innovative education campus that brings together the best of industry with the best of teaching and learning.
The first phase of building will make a strong, contemporary statement befitting its landmark position on an important gateway into London. It will deliver a variety of core curriculum spaces for business, creative and lifestyle disciplines, including e-enabled spaces for business incubation, innovation and collaboration with local businesses.
Our design proposals reflect the College’s vision for a high quality, contemporary and professional college; the central atrium design provides open, flexible and transparent learning environments to promote inclusivity and encourage collaboration and information exchange. The atrium contains a variety of flexible activity spaces that encourage self-directed and group learning styles, which in turn stimulate learner motivation and improve student performance.
The second phase, a
The new School of Architecture and the Built Environment at the University of Wolverhampton is part of the University’s multi-million plans to transform the site of a former brewery into a centre of excellence for the built environment.
The School of Architecture and the Built Environment will be a smart specialisation hub in digital and environmental technologies, and will offer a full range of accredited undergraduate, postgraduate, research and professional development courses. It will provide space initially for nearly 800 students and 50 staff, with the number of students projected to rise to more than 1,200.
The ambitious project, designed by Atkins, will provide 8,100 square metres of space to create an atrium, open plan design studios, lab and workshop space, research space, lecture theatres, classrooms, social learning space, student services, catering and café facilities and administrative support.
Working closely with the University and the local planning department, Atkins have created a design that will retain, protect and celebrate the existing buildings, whilst clearly expressing the new, modern interventions. The external spaces of the former brewery will be brought to life, transforming into a vibrant, central shared courtyard space for all of the partner hubs.
Commissioned under the HCA (Homes and Communities Agency) framework, Atkins will provide the University with a multidisciplinary team including architects and civil and structural engineers, with Faithful + Gould providing project management and quantity surveying.
The ‘Springfield Campus’ will transform higher education delivery in the region, responding to employer demand, and providing lifelong learning, research and
We are currently working on a portfolio of projects, including a new £22m landmark building to provide specialist facilities for two of the university’s internationally renowned facilities – the Faculty of Media and Communication and the Faculty of Science and Technology. The project, which we won through a design competition, is known as the Poole Gateway Fusion Building and will form a new visual gateway to the University’s Talbot Campus and its parkland setting.
The Gateway Building will house state of the art facilities on a series of tiered floors, including many multimedia areas, each with acoustically and visually sensitive spaces. These facilities include: TV and film studios, audio editing, media production spaces, green screen and motion capture suites, and animation studios.
We are also leading the design of a £40m academic building, which will provide a new home for the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences, as well as wider services to support the implementation of the University’s development masterplan. This includes: space planning of existing buildings, landscaping, infrastructure (road and transport interchanges), and facilities management overview.
Harraby Community Campus is a truly multifunctional building, incorporating: a three form primary school; two early years’ nurseries; a Community Centre; a refurbished arts theatre; a café; and Children’s Centre.
Our challenge has been to bring four distinct groups (Community, School, Nursery and Children’s Centre) together in a new environment, creating a coherent sense of shared community whilst still respecting the individual identity of each group.
In response to this, the campus is imagined as an abstract representation of the surrounding residential district with its undulating suburban roofscape, where the expression of the nursery, school and community elements are articulated as a series of linked, but distinct, pavilions. Proudly, each pavilion is crowned by a translucent lantern – a beacon - that internally helps define spaces for gathering under the light, creating focal points for activity.
End-users and Local Authority are delighted with the outcome of this progressive learning environment with seamless connections from child care through to primary and adult social learning and to the wider community.
Our design for the University of Edinburgh’s innovation centre and campus hub will create specialist research facilities for use by the University and external organisations, intended to attract and develop bioscience companies at different levels of maturity, including company start-ups and spin off commercial activities.The building also houses teaching laboratories, shared facilities and an exhibition space.
With its western side clad in local stone and a ‘living wall’ and its eastern side appearing to float above ground, the building will become an icon for the University, and act as the gateway to the campus, which is home to The Roslin Institute, a world leading animal sciences research institute.
Lime Tree brings not only much needed additional school places for Manchester (statistics show over half of primary schools in Manchester are now over capacity), but a new way of teaching and learning that blends indoor and outdoor learning in new and exciting ways. Over half of the curriculum is delivered outdoors.
The buildings, which work with the landscape to create a physical and metaphysical forest, were largely constructed off-site out of modular components, a process that greatly reduced the amount of waste products and the time taken to complete the building.
As a ‘forest school’, Lime Tree aims to develop pupil’s self-esteem, self-confidence and independence skills by nurturing an understanding and respect for nature and the outside world. Atkins designed the building to reflect this ethos, with columns clad in tree bark, green and sky blue cladding inspired by leaves in the sunlight, and classrooms full of natural light connected by ‘forest clearings’.
What makes Lime Tree stand out in comparison with many modular or standardised school solutions is that the project has not been compromised by the construction methodology
Atkins provided full architectural services for this $8.5 million, 49,000-square-foot library. In keeping with the historic nature of Georgetown, the materials and forms of the library were chosen to reflect the local vernacular, while proclaiming the project's important civic nature.
The evolving client collaboration resulted in an efficient program layout that can change configurations to serve different community groups for day or evening. At the same time, the project transformed an old maintenance and storage yard into a new pedestrian urban experience with small courtyards and formal lawns, while seamlessly integrating the required utilities. This project also met the stringent requirements and review process of the Georgetown Historic Architectural Review Committee.
For more information on our work and experience in this sector please contact:
In this section you can find thought leadership articles and papers produced by Atkins for the education sector.