Client: University of Huddersfield
Location: Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
Construction Value: £71m
OOBE was invited to put forward proposals to re-design the central plaza to the University of Huddersfield’s Queensgate campus following our involvement in the development of the adjacent new AHR designed Oastler Building.
The vision for the scheme was to transform an uninspiring space into a vibrant place within the campus, and a destination for students and the wider community. The current space lacked identity, had poor legibility, and provided seating opportunities in shaded locations.
A revitalised square at the heart of the campus
OOBE worked closely with the University in the transformation of the space. There were a number of key considerations in the development of the scheme. These included circulation and wayfinding, as pedestrians and traffic currently competed for the space available; animation, in order to create a central external hub for the campus; comfort, to make students at home and ensure seating opportunities were provided in the best location; and sustainability and future proofing, to increase biodiversity, reduce waste, provide a durable scheme, and embed flexibility to adapt to future needs. Animation and future proofing required extensive consultation with the University to understand the type of events that the campus currently holds, and how those events might change in the future.
The masterplan provides a car free central meeting and socialising space for catch-ups between lectures, and for the wider community to engage with. A balance of hard and soft spaces has been provided to enable students direct contact with nature, increase biodiversity, whilst enabling circulation and functionality. The result is a legible scheme which includes a series of bespoke granite pods, planting beds containing elegant perennials, columnar trees and a feature cherry tree as well as incorporating existing seating relocated to take advantage of the sun’s path.
The scheme has successfully created a new identify for the space. The proposals respond to multiple desire lines and have been developed with students and the wider community in mind in order to welcome all users. The use of robust, high quality, low maintenance materials has resulted in best value within the budget available, whilst providing a long lasting and inspiring scheme.