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Richmond Building Social Spaces, Bradford University

Client Sycamore Square Group

Form of Contract Traditional

Size 351m2 (3778.13 ft2)

Year of Completion 2023


Delivery of two new informal study spaces as part of the University of Bradford’s programme to create a series of casual learning zones in areas across the campus.

After designing and delivering a transformational refurbishment of the University’s main reception building, SGP was tasked with creating designs for two social learning areas for students and staff. The 351 sqm Level C sits beside the revitalised reception area whilst the 110 sqm Horton D space is situated in a separate building close by.

Having created large openings in the partition between the reception and the Level C social learning space. To harmonise the design, SGP focused on making a strong connection between the two spaces. The terracotta tones reflect the Joseph Mayo mural that crowns the entrance to the University’s flagship Richmond Building, and these are combined with the darker tones that SGP abstracted as navy, anthracite and burgundy. The terrazzo tiles were carried through from the reception space at a 45-degree angle to tie back in with the herringbone angles seen in the reception desk. SGP’s design embraces the existing columns, using them to help break up the space and highlight their monolithic aesthetics, using a durable concrete effect render to enhance the architectural character of the space.

SGP’s design took the principle of the black timber slatted ceiling from the reception and altered the scale and colour for Level C, to give the space its own aesthetic style. The oak effect slats over the central area connects the spaces and provides additional acoustic qualities, as well as making the space feel more welcoming. The light fittings, chosen for both function and form, were suspended significantly lower than the ceiling level, to enhance the feeling of privacy and intimacy.

For Horton D, a smaller space in a nearby building, SGP’s design continues the same requirements of a social learning space with a mix of seating styles and supporting technology. It has a six-person table and an emphasis on more private booth seating, and, although some furniture components are the same as for Level C, the use of a red / grey palette makes this new space distinctive.

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