The new 8,000m2 Sibson Building for the University of Kent’s Business School and School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science is located towards the northern edge of the Canterbury campus. The £26m facility creates a vibrant new campus destination for two of the University’s most successful departments, allowing them to expand and improve their current activities.
The envisaged hub of teaching, learning and working brings academics, students, researchers and administrative staff together, creating an environment that actively fosters engagement between the students and staff bodies within the two schools.
Lecture theatres, seminar spaces, Bloomberg suite, café and social learning spaces are organised on ground and first floor around a dramatic top lit concourse. The schools’ individual receptions and admin areas link directly to upper floors that provide workspaces for academics and post graduate researchers. All spaces enjoy views out into the surrounding woodland. Flexible floorplates to the upper floors allow the two schools to expand or contract depending on need.
Set within a woodland the building’s form ensures that it is never fully visible from any viewpoint thereby lessening overall visual impact and preserving the majority of the trees. At lower floors, viewed between tree trunks, the elevations are highly glazed and welcoming with a café that opens out onto a south facing terrace. At upper floors, seen through tree canopies, elevations of anodised aluminium curtain walling pick up on the tree trunks and dappled light of the surrounding woodland. Vertical fins create deep window reveals to control solar gain while their stagger and colouring approximate the non-linear systems of nature.
Designed to achieve BREEAM Excellent a series of interventions integrate the building into the campus and the ecology including new cycle and pedestrian pathways and green roofs that help increase biodiversity. Passive measures of natural ventilation with thermal mass and night time cooling are prioritised over active measures. Extensive roof mounted photovoltaic panels provide in excess of 10% renewable energy.