Nottingham, England


Michael Hopkins and Partners

The Jubilee Campus extension of Nottingham University is a milestone in green architecture. It pioneers an innovative strategy, a combination of mechanical and wind-driven ventilation, as well as bringing together a wide range of other green strategies. Despite starting with an industrial 'brownfield' site, the buildings are now embedded in verdant nature. More than that, the landscaping, the architecture and its environmental systems are intimately fused into a single formal and functional whole. The landscaping is an intrinsic part of the architectural environmental systems: it filters and cools the air approaching the buildings, and even extends onto the roofs to improve insulation and prevent the build-up of reflected heat. It also purifies the water running off roofs, roads and parking areas. The most conspicuously placed and shaped formal elements of the architecture, which is otherwise low-key and generic (and should prove immensely adaptable in the long term), are those that harness the wind to drive the internal ventilation systems. The buildings themselves are linked by a lakeside arcade, off which open the atria that connect classroom buildings. In addition to serving energy-saving functions the atria are, with the arcade, the main social spaces of the campus, which is also green in its social conviviality. It is significant that the campus is not out of town but within easy walking distance of the main campus and well served by public transport. In urban terms it defines an edge and buffer between the bigger buildings of the town center and the suburban houses beyond the lake, situating the scheme in place as well as nature. All the above has been achieved with buildings that cost only $105 per square foot. This proves that even architecture that exemplifies all ten shades of green need cost no more than conventional buildings, yet will bring huge cost savings in the long term. Shades of green: Low energy/high performance; replenishable sources; recycling; embodied energy; long life, loose fit; total life cycle costing; embedded in place; access and urban context; health and happiness; community and connection

[photos by Ian Lawson]