Best Practices in Educational Facilities Investments

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Facility of the week

Tourism and Leisure Building, Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford, Ireland

The objective of this project is to construct a building on an existing campus that is purpose-built, energy efficient and designed in consultation with users, and which maintains architectural continuity with the rest of the campus.

There are a number of purpose-designed spaces such as kitchens, training bar and lounge, training reception, cloakrooms etc and a special health sciences area (this incorporates a Human Performance Laboratory with carefully controlled environmental conditions and a small gymnasium).

Sustainability, an important part of the brief, was rigorously applied to the design, especially regarding the use of naturally lit spaces with natural ventilation. Natural day lighting is maximised in the building by the use of the two atria, one at ground level and one at first floor level. The system also works in mixed mode with natural ventilation depending on external conditions to minimise energy demand. The central atrium uses the smoke venting system for natural ventilation. Rooflights in the floor of the first floor atrium bring daylight into the deep plan kitchens. Glare and heat gain are reduced on the south elevation by the use of recesses in the building plan. These recesses allow daylight to penetrate deep into the kitchens at ground floor level and teaching accommodation on the upper floors, reducing the amount of south facing glazing in these spaces while minimising the use of artificial lighting. Artificial lighting is controlled by presence and light level detection. The selection of materials - white brick, red Astraglaze blocks, zinc, aluminium curtain walling and aluminium framed glazing - emphasise continuity of character and unity of the campus.

The natural slope of the site of the Tourism and Leisure Building - which slopes down towards the existing Sports Building - facilitates the loading bay and the sub ground floor plantroom at the eastern end of the building. The campus street-façade is book ended to the east by the recently completely Nurse Education Building and to the west by the Tourism and Leisure Building, creating a cohesive whole.

The building is expressed as a solid element with glazed recesses that are punched out of the solid massing of the building to bring daylight into the deep plan. The Southern elevation addresses the Cork Road with a formal façade. The Northern elevation addresses the pedestrian spine of the campus. The two sides are linked by a two-storey atrium, which starts at first floor level. This allows for visual connectivity of the various spaces and functions. A curved red wall highlights the entrance and draws pedestrians into the three-storey zinc clad drum. The drum houses the public functions of the building, such as the restaurant and bar area. The large volume of the drum gives the building a strong presence on the site as it is seen from the Cork Road. The Institute’s Director’s suite and board room and the Finance Department are located on the upper floors of this drum. The linear emphasis, of the building compliments the horizontal expression of the library building to the east.

The ground floor contains the public spaces and the highly serviced state of the art kitchens. The public functions at the western end of the building are easily accessible directly from the entrance drum area, and the teaching areas are located along the linear spine. The reception / porter is located in such a way that it has full control of both student and public access permitting maximum flexibility of use. Student access to the teaching kitchens on the ground floor is directly from the entrance hall with the changing rooms located at the access point to the kitchens. Student access to classrooms and other functions is via a grand staircase to the first floor atrium. The location of the kitchens on the ground floor allows efficient delivery of goods and disposal of waste. The kitchens are accessed by means of a central service corridor which is top lit from the atrium. The hospitality / reception teaching area is located on the first floor level, with the open plan work-area overlooking the ground floor atrium. The Sports Science Department is on the first floor in a self-contained block at the eastern end of the building. The first floor atrium is bounded on the north and south by classroom accommodation and office accommodation on the first and second storeys. This is a central location, which is accessible by all departments using the building.

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About this database

The OECD Centre for Effective Learning Environments (CELE) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) launched the “Database of Best Practices in Educational Facilities Investment” on 29 September 2011. It seeks to inform the planning, design, construction, management and evaluation of educational spaces, combining resources for strategic investment in educational infrastructure, with exemplary school and university facilities from all over the world.

Drawing on the output of a joint CELE/European Investment Bank project on “Strategic Investment Planning for Educational Infrastructure” and more than 60 exemplary schools and universities featured in CELE’s flagship publication, “Designing for Education: Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities 2011”, this database is a unique international resource for educators, designers, policymakers and researchers alike.

Users of the database are encouraged to add their own resource material, or submit new completed university or school projects for publication on the database. OECD and EIB welcome your input to our project!

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The OECD Centre for Effective Learning Environments (CELE) presents the top 6 school and university buildings in ”Designing for Education: Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities 2011”.

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