A new STEM focused UTC for the Solent region, shaped by local employers and industry
This new UTC for the Solent region specialises in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, with its syllabus is shaped by local employers and industry. The architecture of the building speaks of this, exuding engineering and providing training in traditional engineering subjects as well as advanced manufacturing methods and rapid prototyping.
The guiding principle behind the design was to create a building that provides a high quality, energy-efficient learning environment, which feels more akin to a workplace than a traditional school. This institution will act as a launch pad for young people seeking a career in engineering, with a specialised curriculum and close ties with local businesses geared towards this.
Sharing its site with the existing Trafalgar School, it is intended that the two institutions will combine to create an education campus with shared facilities and a shared entrance. The new building has a bold design, and is sited on the main road into Portsmouth, making a strong statement and advertising the subjects taught within.
The layout and design of the building is driven by the curriculum, which requires extensive specialist workshop and laboratory facilities in addition to standard classrooms or ‘learning bases’. These varied spaces are mixed together and arranged around a light and airy triple height atrium space, which serves as a ‘Learning Hub’, an integrated dining, social, learning and working area which connects all three levels of the building together, and forms the heart of the UTC. In addition to these rooms, a two store activity hall and a lecture theatre are also provided.
The building has a clean, industrial aesthetic, which continues the theme and ethos of the UTC and its branding, with bright colours, crisp edges and clear expression and celebration of functional elements. This is done using a simple palette of distinctive materials, which reference the neighbouring Trafalgar School, the local industrial context, and UTC’s specialism.
The two contrasting materials are a light coloured masonry, which appears on the lower part of the building, and a seamed metal material with a brightly coloured finish, which appears on the upper part of the building. When combined, the materials produce a design with a strong, resilient, base, and striking top section, tied to the identity of the institution.