Structural Designer: Buro Happold
Exeter, United Kingdom
University of Exeter
Wilkinson Eyre Architects
Sir Robert McAlpine
Other Sub Contractors
Images: © Hufton + Crow
The University of Exeter Forum project provides a new heart for the University’s main campus. Working with the steeply sloping site, the team created a series of concrete plateau structures that linked each of the existing building levels together. These plateaus were focused around a new triple height space covered by one of the country’s largest timber gridshell roofs: a 3200m2 flowing form linking existing buildings and providing a new covered street housing and academic facilities. This complex project also involved extensive refurbishment of a number of the university’s buildings and was delivered on budget.
The judges admired the use of such an elegant structurally expressed, extensive, sustainable and efficient timber gridshell roof: using practical standardised details to unify this complex linking space. The simplicity of the detailing belies the complexity in analysis and form finding as well as the constraints from existing buildings.