The Hitchin Centre at North Hertfordshire College designed by international design practice Scott Brownrigg has been shortlisted in the ‘Higher Education’ category at this year’s prestigious AJ Retrofit Awards.
The design for the new and refurbished buildings has transformed the campus to reflect the needs of the students. It has been designed and developed as part of a holistic masterplan strategy for the 110,000 sq m Hitchin campus.
The scheme revives the Hitchin centre through the refurbishment of three teaching accommodation blocks and the creation of a new internal ‘Hub’ space. The 600 sq m multi-functional Hub forms the central focus for the scheme; it was created by redeveloping a former external courtyard, located between existing buildings. The new space provides much sought after additional areas for learning and social interactions, while acting as a point of orientation, linking the existing buildings through the rationalisations of circulation routes. The Hub roof has been conceived as a solid floating plane which unifies the refurbished teaching blocks. The structure of the roof has been exposed to add drama to the space and has been designed to provide a column free, flexible learning environment. The roof sits on a band of clerestory glazing which brings natural light deep into the Hub, whilst open-able windows allow the space to be naturally ventilated, providing a comfortable environment.
In unifying the existing buildings a greater connectivity is encouraged between the disciplines, promoting interaction and knowledge transfer, whilst providing an accessible, high quality student facility to meet the vision of North Hertfordshire College.
The AJ Retrofit Awards are dedicated to recognizing achievements in design, engineering and construction. They set a benchmark for creative excellence across the commercial, public and private sectors in the UK, rewarding the best work and the brightest thinking.
Winners of these prestigious awards represent the gold standard in retrofit excellence and will be determined by a rigorous judging process by a panel of the industry’s elite. These will be announced at a ceremony on 16 September 2015.