We are delighted to share news that the new Lifestyle and Engineering Buildings at Petroc’s main Barnstaple campus are now completed. In both instances, the primary need was to provide high quality teaching and learning spaces and ensure that students’ experience at college is as relevant as possible to the work environment. That in turn will boost their employment prospects by providing local employers with a supply of well-trained, skilled potential employees which will boost the local economy.
A key part of the design process was the input that from the Design Review Panel early in 2014. The validation that gave enabled the subsequent planning application to progress smoothly – full planning approval was received exactly 13 weeks after submission. That in turn meant the funding criteria could be met which was a key aspiration from the college.
The Engineering building opened in September 2015 and provides a new state of the art facility for engineering services. It sits beside the existing automotive workshop and comprises a feature double height glass fronted entrance / exhibition space to celebrate engineering and allow that faculty to have a more prominent position. That space leads to workshop areas on the ground floor and classrooms on the first floor.
The Lifestyle Building was handed over to the client in April 2016 and is being made ready for the start of the 2016-17 academic year. This building provides a new home for lifestyle curriculum areas, which include subjects that have a public facing aspect such as catering, beauty therapy and hairdressing.
The entrance foyer of the building leads to a triple height atrium, triangular on plan with teaching spaces wrapped around two sides and a dramatic two storey glass wall on the third. The strong geometry and sleek lines make a bold statement that reflects Petroc’s future vision.
The upper floors are set back beyond the line of the ground floor along the northern side so that the massing of the building follows the contours of Sticklepath Hill and reduces its impact from that viewpoint. The western ends of the building are curved and have feature obscure glazing to allow a diffused light to penetrate the interior and create a beacon-like glow at night
The eastern end of the building includes a large commercial kitchen and public restaurant with floor to celling glazing giving panoramic views over Barnstaple and the Taw Valley. Above this is a large seminar room, making the building an ideal venue for conferences, meetings and events.
Practice Director Peregrine Mears commented:
“As Architects with a proven interest in educational buildings, we are keen to create spaces that inspire and encourage students. Thanks to the support of the Design Review Panel, the education of future generations of young people from across North Devon has taken a huge leap forward.”