main entrance

the project presents a bold new face for the campus; a shared ‘contact-vehicle’ in which the college staff and students can come together to display and celebrate their collective outputs.

the college demanded an innovative, design-led solution. they wanted an open-plan, flexible space, but encouraged the design team to explore new ways of supporting and enveloping this volume to create an inspiring building that would act as a fitting backdrop to the artistic endeavours of the college and its students.

the building’s distinctive form derives from the constraints of the site – the parallelogram ‘wedge’ of the main cafe / exhibition area responds to the geometry of folly lane. its double height volume seeks to match the scale of the existing buildings and announce the re-branded college to the street. the main volume is defined as an elegant glass box – protected as necessary from environmental pressures. the roof of the building over-sails the edges to provide protection from the high angled sun and rain. whilst solid elements within the facade shield from the low sun, as well as providing crucial insulation.

the unique ‘twisted-trestle’ structure is made from a combination of glu-laminated timber beams / columns, cross-laminated timber panels and slender steel props. support to the entrance elevation is as light as possible, allowing clear views of the building’s inviting interior, whilst substantial timbers on the opposite side firmly root the building to the ground. their tree-like form is intended to invoke comparisons with herefordshire’s native orchards. the interior treatment strives to create a calm, neutral space for the display of art. to this end, the majority of services within the main space have been concealed and the functionality of the building fabric has been significantly enhanced – e.g the fritted solar shading doubles as a media projection screen, the timber-slatted wall panels provide both acoustic and thermal insulation and the rotating white-boards can be used for display, glare control and/or privacy. even the furniture and equipment have been chosen to enhance the flexibility of the space and to compliment its ‘uncoloured’ aesthetic.

externally, the building is clad in a combination of anodised aluminium, untreated western red cedar and stained plywood panels. the timber connects the building to its surroundings (the remnants of a parkland setting), whilst the visible strips of aluminium reflect the ever-changing sky. at night the exterior takes on a more ‘festive’ character – variegated strips of led lighten the cladding panels whilst the clear glazing allow dramatic views of the illuminated structure within.

landscape to the north-west of the hub an external visitors terrace is formed for occasional evening events, such as theatre shows or exhibition openings. to the south-east a cafe terrace is used during the daytime by college staff and students. the terrace leads, via an ‘art trail’, into a series of contained garden spaces which are used for external display of student work. the project is shortlisted for the 2012 UK public building of the year.

hewitt studios: hca hub street elevation

hewitt studios: hca hub interior view 1

hewitt studios: hca hub interior view 2

hewitt studios: hca hub conceptual axonometric

hewitt studios: hca hub site plan

hewitt studios: hca hub ground floor plan

hewitt studios: hca hub section

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions’  feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here