Alexander Graham Bell Centre for Digital Health

The rigorous analysis of a complex brief ultimately added significant value to the project and its impact on the College as a whole. The innovative designs give consideration to how the college working environment could be radically enhanced and learning made attractive by ideas drawn from different architectural sectors.

Date

2013

Client

Moray College / University of the Highlands and Islands

Value

£4.3m

The Alexander Graham Bell Centre is a new healthcare teaching facility forming an extension to the Moray College Campus in Elgin. The new facility has been jointly funded by Moray College UHI, HIE, NHS Grampian and EU, and provides a principle research, education and continuing professional development (CPD) facility for the life science sector in the North East of Scotland.

There are essentially two aspects to the design of the project: the first is the Life Science Centre located on the selected site to the northwest of the campus containing a new conference facility, research rooms, mock wards and associated classrooms; and the second is a major new circulation space that provides a new main entrance to the Moray college facility linking the “B” Listed Academy Building and the new LSC with all other parts of the college.

Demolition of existing outdated accommodation makes way for the new extension, re-aligning and transforming the public frontage of the college, creating a new Life Sciences Garden and an identifiable new entrance. A new connection to the Grade “B” Listed Victorian Art Block is made via a double height glazed gallery link, previously isolated from the main accommodation.

The new facility also connects several other areas of existing accommodation previously inaccessible to wheelchair users, greatly improving movement in and around existing teaching accommodation. As well as the new entrance and reception, the ground floor provides flexible conference facilities and informal social gathering spaces to encourage interaction amongst students.

The two upper floors of accommodation provide teaching and enterprise spaces along with informal social study spaces. We have created varied learning environments and large open learning areas that are used by a mix of students of varying ages in order to promote interaction and discussion. All main corridors in the new build have extended learning pods and there is the addition of a large social area overlooking the main reception and entrance.

The provision for the flexible conference facility will enable the Centre to become a Life Science Conference hub for the whole of the Highland area. The flexible nature of this facility was driven by jmarchitects at the feasibility stage of the project. The design of the LSC was greatly influenced by its relationship to the existing academy building and the residential scale of nearby buildings; the decision to design a 2 storey building with a third glazed storey assisted to reduce the mass of the building and strengthen its relationship to the academy from the neighbouring streets.

Project gallery

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The Challenge

Moray College required a new Life Science Centre to accommodate new teaching accommodation, a conference facility, a new face to the College and an identifiable new entrance linking the existing College to an existing “B” listed Academy building.

The Solution

Given that the brief for the Life Sciences department involved various social areas and break out spaces, along with a conference venue, we suggested that these facilities would be better used and more flexible if they were clustered more closely with the new entrance.

The Outcome

The relationship to the listed academy building set the precedence for our design and the opportunity to transform the entry and visual connection of the College to the historic fabric of Elgin was critical to our design philosophy. A dramatic transformation is made to the entrance experience and public image of the college, along with significantly enhanced accessibility and flexibility of use.

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Locations

Edinburgh

64 Queen Street
Edinburgh
EH2 4NA

0131 464 6100
edinburgh@jmarchitects.net

Glasgow

50 Bell Street
Glasgow
G1 1LQ

0141 333 3920
glasgow@jmarchitects.net

London

Second Floor
37 Alfred Place
London WC1E 7DP

0207 580 5330
london@jmarchitects.net

Manchester

3A, 54 Princess Street
Manchester
M1 6HS

0161 200 6300
manchester@jmarchitects.net