Kingston University Masterplan

Masterplan centres enhancing the student experience at Kingston University.

Kingston University sought to rationalise their Penrhyn Road and Kingston Hill campus layouts. Key drivers for the project were to improve organisation at the university and faculty level, alongside enhancing flexible and social learning facilities.

Burwell conducted extensive research into the existing facilities, user experience and university community. We reviewed pedagogic and social structures and explored the logistics of site phasing. Understanding the need for future flexibility, we produced a vision which considered both qualitative and quantitative elements. This vision was tested against five proposed ‘frameworks’ for the future development of the university, with a series of flexible pathways leading to each outcome.

Enhancing the student experience was at the heart of our investigation, and understanding the culture, organisation and ambition alongside current frustrations was essential to the development of a cohesive Estate Development Vision (EDV) for each campus. The EDV established an academic heart at the centre of the Kingston Hill site, cradled by a residential belt set amongst the tree canopy to the north and west. The site’s topography is steeply terraced with rich biodiversity and presented challenges to the phased development of the campus. Optioneering studies allowed us to investigate the best route to securing the EDV with the least possible disruption to campus life. Previous planning considerations were also taken into account, with proposals ensuring that key views and the surrounding woodland would be protected.

Meanwhile, the EDV for the Penrhyn campus centred around rationalised circulation. A ’social learning spine’ and clearer legibility for the main building will allow for visual connections between spaces, with courtyards used as landmarks. Shared social zones at lower levels connect faculties to help define and aid navigation. Understanding student expectations across the different schools revealed what facilities would be required to ensure the university is able to make a competitive education offer and attract top students and business partnerships.

Having established the EDVs for both campuses and the framework within which it would be achieved, a Vision Implementation Plan (VIP) was devised for each site. The VIP set out the individual projects which would assist in in achieving the EDV, and will be reviewed on a yearly basis against the evolving university and education landscape, pivoting to other routes to the EDV where necessary.

The University’s sustainability policy requires BREEAM Excellent for all new builds, and so energy efficiency was a key driver to all considerations. Reuse and extension of existing buildings were considered in the first instance, with efficient building fabrics and 20% on-site renewable energy included in in the proposals for each site.