The new building for Ravensbourne, a university sector college innovating in digital media and design, is located on the South-Eastern edge of The O2 building at Greenwich Peninsula. By moving to this extraordinary location, the college aims to deliver education to meet the shifting demands of 21st century learners who expect access to resources and support on demand, and whose needs differ greatly on account of a variety of social and economic factors. In line with these requirements, the new college building simulates the environment and working practices of creative professionals, providing the best in technology and mobile computing in an environment which enables a variety of learning styles.
The main design strategy has been to produce a structure which encourages collaboration between the different disciplines and practitioners within Ravensbourne. To achieve this, the building has been structured around a system of two interconnected atria, each piercing through three levels of program. The atria are systematically attached to the external façade allowing them to be used as ventilation devices as well as to visually connect the core of the public spaces inside the building with the perception of the urban surroundings. In order to have optimum environmental performance, low maintenance and high flexibility, the massing has been kept as compact as possible with a very low ratio of façade to area, and a deep building which is able to provides flexible space to host the various activities which take place in the building. The building has received a BREEAM qualification of environmental excellence.
The architecture of the building has been designed to express the culture of contemporary production through the use of a non-periodic tiling system which symbolises a more diverse and contemporary approach to technology. Gothic rose windows and flower patterns have been a rich field of inspiration for the project, produced not as an imitation of nature but as an abstract construction. To achieve this, we have created a façade which uses a non-periodic tiling pattern in which seven different types of windows were built from only three different tiles.