Archive for the ‘ Design. ’ Category

Client Interviews. Glasgow Caledonian University – Douglas Little Head of Estates

Main Restaurant

As a reflective practice, we often revisit projects to review them in operation. Recently we have been asking our clients to take part in a quick questionnaire to find out how they feel about the places we have created and we will be featuring these mini-interviews over the coming months. The first interview is with Douglas Little, Head of Estates at Glasgow Caledonian University and the man who led the construction of the Heart of Campus Project for the University – this is what he had to say,


1. Tell us about the background of your project? 

In 2016 , work was completed on the flagship Heart of Campus project, a £32 million investment in the Student Experience which has changed the face of the Estate and has introduced inspiring new teaching spaces and social areas. The two-year redevelopment which centred on two of the University’s main buildings –The George Moore and Hamish Wood-has increased learning and teaching provision and added a host of exciting new elements.

Outdoors, three new courtyard gardens with fluid and organic designs bring colour to the campus and offer space for reflection and engagement.

2. What were your hopes and dreams at the outset?

To transform a 60s/70s ”college look university” into a modern university with inspiring places you would want to come to!

3. What were the high and the low points of the process?

Having to break it down into phases was the low point as you just wanted to get the work underway.  The highpoints were when you opened up the phases one by one.  This was a magical moment for all to see!

4. Which part of the project makes you proudest?

The complete Heart of Campus project but the best part is the Student eating area with the large connection stretching down George Moore into Saltire.

5. Where do you feel your project is most innovative?

Creating interesting spaces out of space that you would not think possible!

6. What kind of reaction did you get to the completed project?

Not one negative comment so that says it all

7. If you had to do it again, would you do anything differently?

Shout out to everyone the successes at each handover phase and celebrate each accordingly.

8. Are there any anecdotes or stories that stick out in your memory?

Plenty stories but you will have to wait until my book comes out!



Prototyping Workshop Outputs

More pictures from our German workplace project.

These pictures are from our prototyping workshop where models based upon participants ideas were presented and critiqued. This included models for innovative indoor products such as phone booths, individual workspace ‘cubics’, ‘hangouts’ and shelters along with outdoor pavilions and street furniture. The baubles are conceptual representations of participants landscaping ideas for different buildings in Frankfurt and are fragranced to represent a custom ‘scent-scapes’ for each place described in participants specifications.

The workshops developed for this project are entirely bespoke and have gradually built upon each other to reach this prototyping stage. The project has pushed our team to create some of our most innovative, fun and effective workshop activities to date and has resulted in an unexpected number of solid concepts ranging from simple communication suggestions through to architectural interventions.

The prototype models were received with great enthusiasm by all, and we are now looking forward to seeing some of these ideas come to life over the next 12 months or so.

University challenge: transforming your academic library- SCURL Aberdeen

SCURL Aberdeen 1

It has been a few weeks now but we have finally got round to writing up our speaking event at the SCURL conference at University of Aberdeen.   Our client Wendy Pirie, Head of Academic and Learner Services at Heriot-Watt University  asked us to join her to speak about the work we are doing for the University consulting about, designing and strategising  new learning environments across campus.  The conference took place in the University’s relatively new and very famous Duncan Rice Library building created by Danish designers, Schmidt Hammer Lassen architects.  Wendy had previously been the University librarian and played a key role in the creation of this wonderful building.  As a result she had loads of great and detailed advice to give under our topic, ‘Redesigning spaces for students’ learning requirements’.  There were a number of interesting presentations including, Elaine Muir of University of West of Scotland on their award winning Ayr Campus and ‘Break-up or Love Letters to your Library’ by Alison Stevenson, Head of Learning Resources at Glasgow School of Art.  This was very interesting for us as it is quite similar to a creative writing task we set workshop participants to write either a birth announcement or an obituary for their new or old spaces. However – the building stole the show – or to be more accurate the fabulous views from the building to the North sea stole the show for us.   If you can get there pay a visit.  It is well worth the effort.


SCURL Aberdeen 2


GCU Heart of Campus Update


IMG_2013Heart of Campus – George Moore Building

The first phase of the Heart of Campus project for Glasgow Caledonian University is almost complete.  Works are ongoing but the final components will be installed over the next few weeks.  In amongst the images above is a sneak-peek at the handmade Lace-Fence screens that will appear throughout the Restaurant and Study Club on the ground floor.  Also featured are the Study Club with its undulating ceiling and the ‘Visa Station’ located within ISSS on the first floor where the Campus Life Desk and Student Information Lounge are due to be completed imminently.


HW 1

Hamish Wood ground floor and Pavilion Gateway

With works almost complete in the George Moore building attention has turned to the second phase of the Heart of Campus project.  The Hamish Wood building is currently being remodelled and a new Pavilion will form a gateway for the campus.  The Pavilion will house our interpretation of a modern reception space – affectionately known simply as the ‘Squiggle’ the bespoke installation is made up from 222 timber fins that perform various tasks: café seating, reception desk, information points etc.

The main structure of the Pavilion is complete and we are looking forward to seeing the project develop over the next few months.




Experimental teaching space for KCL


Our ‘Terra Incognito’ experimental teaching space for King’s College London is nearly complete. The space is in the basement of the world famous Somerset House and provides a suite of customisable/flexible teaching and learning spatial for K+ the College’s widening participation team.  The scheme should be finished in the next few week or so and we will post an update then.

Heart of Campus Restaurant is here!

Heart of Campus Restaurant

Heart of Campus Restaurant

It has been a labour of love and has taken two years so far but we are finally starting to see the Heart of Campus emerge at Glasgow Caledonian University.   The 400+ seat restaurant opened this week and we have had fantastic feedback from students and staff so far.  There are still a number of exciting additions including lace mesh screens and some rather fabulous furniture but it is coming along nicely.  There is still a long way to go with the study club opening in October, the new Student Service Mall opening at Christmas our work in the new Pavilion building and in the Hamish Wood set for completion in Spring next year- However we will be taking full advantage of our time on campus and will most definitely be popping in for lunch as soon as we can.  In addition to the more tradition servery offering there will be stalls selling street food and we know that they have been experimenting and testing recipes all summer so should be great! We will post more updates on the Heart of Campus as they happen over the next few weeks/months

Heriot-Watt's stunning Riccarton Campus

Heriot-Watt’s stunning Riccarton Campus

We are happy to announce that we have recently won a major tender to provide interior design and educational space consultancy services to Heriot-Watt University. The University has recently undergone a lengthy Space Utilisation survey and as a result have identified a number of refurbishment/new build projects

Our role will be to create the design intent for all of the Universities learning spaces through consultation with key stakeholders and to produce final schemes for three important new spaces, a Learning Commons, a Conference and Teaching space and a new Study Café.

We are still at early stages with the project but as usual timescales are demanding so we hope to finalise our consultation plans in the next week. We will be designing a bespoke people centred creative consultation plan for Heriot-Watt and hope to use some new methods along with our own people/place assessment tools.