Original features

September 10, 2009

The University of Sunderland's CitySpace, which opens next week, was designed by architects FaulknerBrowns to act as the focal point for all non-academic aspects of campus life: sport, socialising and events.

A distinctive facade with coloured glazing units set into precast concrete panels ensures that the site stands out as a landmark on the city campus, while also providing the right combination of visibility and shading within.

It encloses a three-storey hub space at the heart of the building, which can be used for small-scale performances as well as providing places for staff, students and members of the wider community to meet and eat.

Within the hub, a climbing wall provides one of the links to a multi-purpose venue that opens on to a sports hall the size of two basketball courts. Bleacher seating can be pushed back into the walls to create space for larger events. On the top level, a 70-station fitness area overlooks the campus' central square.

Unusually for a sports and social centre, the building has already won the highest rating on the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method, for its environmental responsibility.

Send suggestions for this architectural series to: matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

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