On Monday 28 September, civic dignitaries, contractors and University representatives gathered at an event to celebrate the structural completion of the stunning centrepiece of Southampton Solent’s new teaching building; the Pod.
Designed by award-winning international design practice Scott Brownrigg, the impressive structure, which weighs approximately 67 tonnes, features a full-sized lecture room with a large video wall and open-topped viewing platform with fantastic views across East Park.
Guests – including The Mayor of Southampton – were invited to take a closer look in and around the pod, a futuristic feature which dominates the impressive five-storey atrium of the University’s new ‘Spark’ building, due for completion early next year.
Speaking about the Pod, Ian Pratt, Director at Scott Brownrigg said: “When people ask me about the Pod they often ask ‘what is it?’ One response to this question is: It’s an 80 person lecture room with an informal learning area on top. But of course, the Pod is so much more than that…It’s the visually striking centrepiece of the atrium; a powerful guardian welcoming students, staff and visitors to the Spark and aiding way-finding. It’s an international design and engineering triumph. A masterpiece of modern construction and off-site manufacturing techniques.”
Southampton Solent’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Graham Baldwin, thanked main contractors Interserve; architects Scott Brownrigg and CIG Architecture for not only their hard work on the build but also the opportunities they are providing for students.
“Throughout the process the build has enhanced the experience for our students by providing student work-placements, on-site learning and guest lectures as part of their courses, so not only is the pod built for our students, but it is with the support of them as well, all adding to their learning journey.”
Intended to reflect the region’s nautical heritage and the University’s strong maritime links, the Pod has been manufactured off-site in Netherlands by CIG Architecture. It is surrounded by cutting-edge teaching and learning facilities designed by Scott Brownrigg. These include 35 classrooms and five lecture rooms, interactive study spaces and a city centre conferencing and exhibition space, which will be open for use by Southampton businesses and the wider community in 2016.