Wigan City CampusEdit profile
Client Wigan Council Developer Access Consortium Architects Astudio and LCE Architects Mix of Uses: Public library, One Stop Shop for Council Services, PCT, Public Swimming Pool, Gym, Council Offices Size 17.235 sqm in total This project for Wigan is a significant opportunity to create a new Civic Quarter. Our team’s belief, as it has been from the outset, is to create a new ‘place’. This new place sits significantly at the junction of the Town Centre, the historic conservation area and the commercial centre for Wigan. We believe this project is about the sensitive relationship between the old and new. Both in physical terms and philosophically, the retention of the Municipal building facade retains the historical character of Hewlett Street, yet still projects a dynamic forward thinking vision the Council have of the future. The balance between the old and the new is critical to the success of knitting this project into the hearts of the Wigan community. The design fully embraces the aspirations of Wigan Council to maximise the use of the town centre creating identifiable and sustainable community facilities, which draws from current best practice in construction and architecture. The project was won through a rigorous PFI process and begins on site in July 2009. The scheme was master planned from a macro scale of Wigan to knit together the retail, civic and cultural quarters. The two new buildings located on two different sites embrace the existing Town Hall creating two new and much needed public open spaces, which were not part of the brief. The significance of these two sites is heightened by their relationship to the Town Hall. Throughout the design development of our proposal we have always developed the concept of a ‘Masterplan’ enabling a long term solution to this facility. The Town Hall, which sits in the centre of the two developments, provides a potential to link these two facilities. This link provides a connection between these different buildings both physically and functionally. The development itself may well provide the catalyst to develop the Town Hall to become the centrepiece of Wigan’s community facilities; it’s new civic campus. Although the Town Hall is not within the scope of this project, we foresee its capacity as the ‘democratic heart of Wigan’ being enhanced by a literal link through the building, thus physically connecting all three sites, which could be undertaken as part of a future programme of work. The scheme known as Wigan City Campus includes a new landmark public library, One-Stop-Shop and Council offices and Health Living Zone – housing a 25 metre swimming pool, gym and health consultation suites. The design uses the 4 storey slope of the site to great advantage giving access to all the different uses at different floor levels. This has helped to knit together these functions without needing walls and enormous amounts of signage. The Library building retains an existing historic façade and the new building sits delicately behind this with suspended mezzanine slabs containing different uses within the library volume itself. This visually connects all the council functions making them transparent to the public as well as easy to navigate. This building has been conceived as an open plan environment; it represents the new public face of the council reflecting the council vision to deliver 21st century services yet embracing the heritage of Wigan by retaining its historic fabric. Since the south site sits at the lowest point of the topography this allow us to locate most of the large scale spaces of the brief there without compromising the urban scale of the conservation area. The rhythm of the fenestration has been design as a “solid` and regular base, clad in natural stone contrasting with more playful upper levels. The use of terracotta to clad those levels has been carefully thought about to create a “patina` by using 2 terracotta tones. The pool sits in the heart of the south building using the council offices as a thermal buffer to reduce the energy needed to keep it warm. Placed at the centre of the building it reinforces the council’s agenda for healthy living as it is seen from all parts of the facility. With a large north facing glazed wall framing the view of the historic Town Hall the building builds on the already loved ‘window’ on the international pool which exists today. Energy is provided to the new buildings with one CHP plant providing free heating to the pool. The plant is sized such that it can serve a wider area of uses that have complimentary peak loads, generating an energy masterplan for the centre of Wigan. The use of Termodeck air systems, natural ventilation and maximising the use of daylight in the buildings greatly reduces the buildings energy use.