Original features

September 11, 2008

Edinburgh's new Informatics Forum, officially opened by First Minister Alex Salmond last week, is designed both to "repair the urban grain" of the area and to pioneer a style of academic architecture that promotes the cross-fertilisation of ideas.

George Square is at the heart of the university. Although it dates back to 1767, most of the original buildings were swept away in an ill-fated redevelopment scheme in the 1960s. This left behind the University Library, the unloved David Hume and Appleton Towers and a windswept car park in the northeast corner. It is here that the Informatics Forum has been erected as part of a wider plan to reconnect the university with the rest of the city.

Designed by Bennetts Associates, it is built around a central glass atrium on six floors, and brings together for the first time the 500-600 researchers who make up the world-class School of Informatics. It includes "drop-in spaces" for staff from other departments, "break-out" balconies with spectacular views of Edinburgh Castle, "floating" staircases and a digital board displaying the names of donors in binary code.

An evaluation project by environmental psychologists will analyse users' movements so as to ensure that the design really helps achieve wider social and educational objectives.

This is part of a series exploring celebrated and lesser-known architectural treasures within British higher education.

Suggestions most welcome: matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

Please login or register to read this article.

Register to continue

Get a month's unlimited access to THE content online. Just register and complete your career summary.

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Viewed

The University of Oxford is top in a list of the best universities in the UK, which includes institutions in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

26 September

Most Commented

Most universities still rely on exams and assessed essays to grade their students. But as the fourth industrial revolution, employability and student satisfaction all rise up the agenda, many experts are suggesting that assessment needs to much more closely resemble real-world tasks. Anna McKie marks the arguments   

23 May