Designed by a local team – including Mabers, d3Shipway and Price & Myers I think is a really great example of a practical building which looks great. I drive by it each day on my way home – and I think it looks even better at night.
Of course the really clever stuff goes on inside – it is a world class centre for studying Global Positioning Systems. Our lives have become dependent on GPS – which is now a pretty unremarkable tool. My phone uses the technology.
I commented on an imagemakers blog about map reading last week when I was debating with Phil Songhurst about the next wave of GPS – augmented reality. The latter will be a fantastic tool which I believe will change the face of how we find our way around!
We should also remind ourselves that the University have been building on the Triumph Road site now for many years, since purchasing the old Raleigh site. The building programme has continued apace through all manner of market conditions!
I was privileged last week to be shown a building on the main University campus which has been renovated for use by VIP visitors to the University. I have to say that the results were visually stunning – at 5-star hotel standard. But what also struck me was that the building had been ‘properly’ refurbished respecting the original features. Corners had not been cut. I would love to stay there!
A few years ago I was asked by a University client to help them with a report to their Governors – who wanted to know why their build costs were higher than those on a typical business park setting. What was apparent was that general offices (like my own) are well built – to a price. The developer knows there is a quality standard to achieve the optimum rental and capital values. The Universities are not driven by this; they have a long term game play. So the materials tend to be better and the design can be more adventurous.
One of the proudest achievements in my professional life was my involvement in acquiring the former Devonshire Royal Hospital from the NHS for Derby University in 2000. I got to meet Prince Charles at the opening! And even today the building still wows me every time I go.
What I really liked about Grace (which is at the opposite end of the architectural scale to the Buxton jewel) is that it clearly is a ‘box’, but the use of light and colour lifts it so that it really is better than an office.
We shouldn’t forget the contribution the Education sector contributes to our built environment – as well as providing bright Graduates!