Project Example : New Design Centre, Mackworth College Derby

Description of Scheme


The College was established in 1989 as a result of Tertiary re-organisation in Derby, with incorporation as Mackworth College Derby in April 1993 on two campus sites ; Following the retirement of the Consultant Architect, the College appointed PDA's as the replacement in November 1998, despite considerable competition from local and regional Practices, with an overall brief to concentrate all facilities onto the Mackworth site located just off the A52 Derby to Ashbourne Road, to the West of Derby City Centre ; the second Normanton Road site was to be closed and sold-off for re-development, with the proceeds being re-invested in upgrading the main Mackworth College campus facilities. The New Design Centre development is the second PDA Project of the six phased schemes completed between 1998 & 2001 at the Mackworth College Site, as identified on the following Aerial View :-

Scheme Brief

The College brief was formulated in late 1998, identifying the requirement for a new 5,000m2 Art & Design Centre to be built between the existing B & C-Blocks, two of the ten separate educational buildings located centrally on the 32 hectares Mackworth College campus ; the facilities were to replace the Normanton Road campus Art and Design Studios, 3-D Workshops, Information Technology Suites etc, and to house the re-located College Library facilities ; the light structure was to have a striking appearance and to contribute significantly to the overall ethos of the campus, using modern technology wherever possible to ensure minimal environmental impact, whilst visually linking two rather mundane flat-roofed out-moded educational buildings with 1metre differential in ground floor levels ; originally all to be completed by 2001, but brought-forward to a completion date by September 2000, ready for the College's Autumn Term influx of new students.

Design Approach

After numerous design team meetings with the representatives of the College, during which many conflicting requirements were identified (such as acoustic isolation of the noise-producing areas including 3-D Wood Workshops, Textiles Machinery and wet Ceramics / Plaster facilities , from the quieter Computer Study and Teaching areas) ; a comprehensive space-requirement analysis including inter-relationships was undertaken, in tandem with alternative feasibility studies as to the built form and associated budget costs ; the final design concept is described later in this scheme description.

Budget and Funding

Analyses of similar as-built educational schemes indicated an overall likely cost rate of some £1,000.00 per square metre of gross floor area; the New Design Centre has a gross floor area of some 5,150 sq m, giving an indicative overall cost of some £5 millions plus ; the College's stated allocated resources were for some £4 millions in total, including fixtures, fittings and associated external works, ie very tight indeed!… Funding for the Scheme included the proceeds from the sale of the existing second Normanton Road campus, College accumulated savings and income revenue, together with a proportional contribution of capital costs by the Further Education Funding Council ; thus careful control of the Contract Specifications and associated Costs, with continuous reporting throughout the scheme was required to achieve the stated budget, despite there being no appointed project Quantity Surveyor ; PDA's appointment included all tasks associated with the Employer's Agent's Architectural duties in preparing the Employer's Requirements, as well as all cost control and reporting of same throughout the Contract.

Final Design

Following several hand-drawn feasibility studies a finalised cohesive design solution emerged, which was worked-up on PDA's Computer-Aided Design facilities as a three-dimensional colour presentational model, with sequential structural / shell presentation views prepared to help describe the scheme to all parties concerned with the project :-



The final design solution comprises a large single-storey flexible open-plan Design Studio at the lowest level adjacent the existing single-storey B-Block, with ramped access routes up to a central 3-storey block accommodating 3-D Woodwork/Metalwork/Textiles Workshops, Photographic Studios and an Apple Mac Computer Suite for between 29 & 52 workstations at ground floor, a first floor flexible open-plan 250-workspace ILT Computer Centre which can be sub-divided into 2, 3 or 4 teaching spaces, together with a new College Library at the second floor, complete with Reference/Study Areas, perimeter Computer Booths and associated Workrooms, Offices and Stores ; ground floor ramped corridors lead up to a further new 2-storey Block with a first floor glazed bridge link to the existing adjacent 2-storey C-Block building ; the 2-storey block accommodates the wet Plaster/Ceramics/Printing Studios/College Laundry and Contextual Studies at ground floor, with multi-purpose Classrooms, Staff Offices & Workrooms over, with a 2-storey Design Centre Plant Room housing all automated mechanical & electrical plant and equipment :-

The structure comprises light-weight braced steel framing off concrete pad foundations, with exposed internal feature curved steel roof trusses to curved inverted/barrel-vaulted insulated elastomeric single-ply steel-decking roofing systems with integrated profiled double-skin translucent polycarbonate roof-lights providing natural daylight to studios etc below, with insitu reinforced concrete/steel deck intermediate floors with integrated services compartment trunking throughout ; fair-faced blockwork panels are incorporated at ground floor areas susceptible to vandalism, with insulated composite cladding panels and solar-tinted double-glazed toughened glass patent glazing units over, all co-ordinated in the Colleges' corporate colour combinations of greys and greens, to give a cohesive identity to the new Design Centre ; internal hard-wearing finishes have been chosen carefully to achieve low-maintenance and ease of cleaning throughout, with anti-slip heavy-duty painted concrete/vinyl sheet/carpet tiling to floors, painted fair-faced high-density blockwork walls and suspended ceiling systems with integrated services :-

The progressive stepped massing of the central 3-storey block, with single and 2-storey adjacent blocks helps to visually link the existing B and C-Blocks, whilst accommodating an overall site cross-fall of some 2 metres :-

The scheme also encompasses an upgraded forecourt car park and a secure themed-zone landscaped garden and sitting area to the rear, with new service access routes formed ; access is controlled and monitored at the main entrance lobbies by way of card-reader/audio units and CCTV cameras linked to a ground floor reception/security station ; sanitary facilities, generous circulation routes, stairs, ramps and lift have been incorporated and situated to facilitate the mobility of disabled visitors, staff and students throughout the new Centre :-

Final Costs

The scheme was completed 3 weeks ahead of programme at an overall cost of £3.35 millions, ie. £650 per mS all-in, including comprehensive fixtures & fittings, external works etc.

Completed Scheme Photographs

The following sequence of composite photo's show views of the completed Complex from above, external elevations and internal rooms, together with the opening ceremony :-