University of Sunderland Campus Redevelopment

"This attractive multi-functional space was intended to be "at the heart" of the campus. More than this however, it has actually created a heart to the campus and now helps to strongly define the University's identity as progressive, creative and inclusive. " The pedestrianising of the heart of the campus and the creation of key circulation routes through an inviting social space has created the much sought after campus feel with the journey between buildings becoming a pleasure not a chore. Even early in its existence dwell time on campus has visibly increased with staff and students taking advantage of any bright days and the facilities within the quad. Feedback from students, staff and the local community has been excellent highlighted by a recent article in the local press.”

Iain Garfield, former Head of Estates, University of Sunderland

The University of Sunderland has been providing higher education in the City of Sunderland since 1901. For the duration of its existence, the University has prided itself on the ability to change – constantly seizing new agendas and changing with society in order to provide the highest quality of teaching and research. This has been accompanied by a strong commitment to provide suitable investment to ensure that the University’s facilities match the quality of its teaching.

To continue the investment made in recent years, the University commissioned a Development Framework for the City Campus. This ‘live’ document offers a mechanism to deliver a progressive regeneration of the campus to provide the required opportunities currently lacking on the City Campus. Planning for coherent development has provided the University, and City, with a tool to ensure that appropriate development on the City Campus is undertaken.

At the heart of the Campus, the Quad has been the first public realm project to be implemented, and will act as a catalyst for future developments.

This public realm will provide the cohesion currently lacking in the campus, connecting to the City Centre, and creating a high quality setting appropriate to its urban location.

The ‘B’ Route

The B Route was an organisational construct that would differentiate the different external spaces into coherent uses and characters;

The axis would give emphasis to the route from Metro station through the campus, providing orientation, access to facilities and a series of attractive, usable spaces;

The concept led to the rerouting of roads so as to create a new focal space – the Quad

Student Services focused on the Chester Road, Students Union and Library;

Creating a ‘Water Cooler’ Space

Collaboratively with the project architects, Colour developed the concept and designed a new focal quadrangle on the City Campus

The design was driven by pedestrian movement routes, challenging, managing and redirecting vehicle routes, a stakeholder-driven activity calendar and working with microclimate to create desirable and usable spaces

The Activity Calendar

The activity calendar was used as an interactive tool to enable stakeholders within the university to plan how the space could be used throughout the day and year – identifying ‘down time’ as opportunities;

The programme informed the design process, allowing appropriate spaces for the desired uses and incorporation of necessary infrastructure in the right places – such as power and vehicle paving;

The intention was to create a space for both staff and students to meet both formally and informally, forming a new visual and social heart to the campus


Univeristy of Sunderland





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