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Placemaking for a Modern World We design at every scale and at every stage in the process of placemaking, from visioning to briefing, design, delivery and operation. The places we create are distinct; social, natural, useful and beautiful — a reflection of humanity. The practice has grown to over 1,200 people operating from a collaborative network of city studios, all creative hubs connected to the cities and regions they serve. Ever since our foundation in 1961 the design of buildings and spaces for higher education has been one of the practice’s key sectors, and our socially progressive, innovative, collaborative and people-centred approach resonates with our many higher education clients.


We create student centred learning environments that promote interaction and address a range of needs from general teaching hubs through to specialist faculty buildings. We have a breadth of skills and experience, cross-pollinating thinking from across our UK and international studios to maximise the advantages of being international, interdisciplinary, and multi-sector. We are energy creative, using natural and technological approaches for the use and reuse of energy and resources.


The Campus Masterplan From densely populated urban sites to green landscaped campuses, we can design a masterplan that maximises usable space, reinforces identity and enriches the spirit of the place.


Student Centric Design Our approach places the user at the heart of the design process to create the very best learning and research environments that enthuse and nurture the people who use them. We design in an inclusive style, which breaks down barriers, empowers faculty and students, builds consensus and a sense of collective ownership.


Adaptive Reuse

The greenest building is the one already built. Refurbishment, repurposing or integration of existing buildings can be a cost effective and valuable alternative to new build, saving raw material and embodied energy, and helping to reach sustainability targets.

The creative adaptation of buildings of historic significance requires specialist conservation skills, knowledge of materials, and an understanding of site significance and building history. We have an extensive track record of adapting buildings of heritage value, functionally and technically, to make them fit for purpose while preserving and enhancing character.


Adaptive Re-use: refreshing tired estates The greenest building is the one already built. Refurbishment, repurposing or integration of existing buildings can be a cost effective and valuable alternative to new build, saving raw material and embodied energy, helping to reach sustainability targets. Historic estates The creative adaptation of buildings of historic significance requires specialist conservation skills, knowledge of materials, and an understanding of site significance and building history. We have an extensive track record of adapting buildings of heritage value, functionally and technically, to make them fit for purpose while preserving and enhancing character.


University of Edinburgh, School of Engineering Location Edinburgh, UK Client University of Edinburgh Cost £30m

Completion 2022 Phase I

The School of Engineering, ranked number one in the UK by the Research Excellence Framework, has relocated to form part of a world class, dynamic science and technology campus. The new building advances engineering solutions to global problems by supporting emerging pedagogical styles and promoting collaborative working between specialist workshops and offices, showcasing a ‘knowledge workshop’ at the heart of the building.


Manchester Metropolitan University Science and Engineering Building Location Manchester, UK

Client Manchester Metropolitan University Cost £65m

Completion 2023 New research and teaching, together with selective refurbishment of existing science and engineering labs, workshops and computing facilities, marks a stepchange in the university’s research capabilities, STEM education, knowledge exchange strategies and international presence. The new building will act as a ‘living lab’, showcasing science and engineering and connecting with the techfocussed business community in the city region.


University of Cambridge, Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology Location Cambridge, UK Client University of Cambridge Cost £42m

Completion 2015

World-class laboratories bring together researchers from different locations working in the fields of molecular and micro­biology, materials and reaction engineering, sensor and biosensor and magnetic resonance to promote collaboration and foster interdisciplinary working among researchers and students.


University of Cambridge, The Nanoscience Centre Location Cambridge, UK Client University of Cambridge Cost £4.5m

Completion 2003 The centre is designed as a series of three elements: cleanrooms and vibration free research spaces based on layouts developed through our work in the commercial semi conductor sector, offices and social space engineered for maximum interaction between researchers.


University of Cambridge, The Maxwell Centre Location Cambridge, UK Client University of Cambridge Cost £16m

Completion 2015 Aimed at promoting interaction with industry to develop blue-sky research programmes in the physical sciences, this research laboratory is the second phase of the Physics of Medicine project and further develops our lab hotel concept. Flexible laboratory space is created under the interactive meeting and write-up zone which nestles beneath the distinctive curving roof. The building utilises an innovative layered laboratory design, ensuring services to individual laboratories can be changed without affecting the others.


University of Strathclyde, Technology and Innovation Centre Location Strathclyde, UK Client University of Strathclyde Cost £56m

Completion 2015

The BREEAM Excellent Technology and Innovation Centre creates a ring of flexible accommodation set around a central atrium, bringing together over 1,000 leading researchers, knowledge transfer specialists and industry partners to change the way that industry and the university engage.


University of Cambridge, Physics of Medicine Location Cambridge, UK Client University of Cambridge Cost £16.5m

Completion 2008

A new landmark gateway to the West Cambridge Campus, this flexible laboratory zone houses physical, chemical and biological laboratories, a triple height NMR room shaped around the five gauss lines of the magnet, researchers’ offices and social space designed to foster interaction. The specialist laboratories enable scientists from varied disciplines to work together in an open accessible environment in cell and molecular biophysics and tissue and membrane research.


Manchester Engineering Campus Development Location Manchester, UK

Client Balfour Beatty for University of Manchester Cost £287m

Completion 2021

One of the largest capital projects ever undertaken by a UK higher education institution, the new building houses the university’s four engineering schools and two research institutes from the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences. The design concept was developed by Mecanoo, with BDP appointed to assist with the technical design and subsequent delivery of the project.


University of Hull, Allam Medical Building Location Hull, UK

Client University of Hull Cost £20m

Completion 2017 The health hub houses the Hull York Medical School, Faculty of Health and Social Care and the Applied Health Research Institute and provides a much needed social heart to nurture research in applied health within a state-of-the-art clinical skills facility. The project won the Guardian University Award in 2018.


University College London, Pears Building Location London, UK

Client Royal Free Charity, University College London Cost £42m

Completion 2020

Home to the UCL Institute of Immunity and Transplantation, the Hopkins designed Pears Building is dedicated to applied medical research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of some of today’s major diseases such as cancer, HIV and hepatitis. It will also generate vital knowledge around stem cells, exploring their potential to grow new organs for transplantation. The aim is to replace years of arduous therapy with one simple treatment.


University of Birmingham, Teaching and Learning Building


Location Birmingham, UK Client University of Birmingham Cost £24m

Completion 2020

The University of Birmingham’s new flagship education facility is designed to enable and encourage cutting-edge teaching and learning. The new building creates a distinct learning environment at the heart of the campus and provides a rich portfolio of flexible teaching and learning spaces clustered around 500seat and interactive 250-seat lecture theatres. This enables students to use the spaces outside of formal timetabled learning. In addition to the lecture theatres the building also provides ten seminar spaces and a café with extensive seating overlooking the landscaped area.


Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Coventry University Location Coventry, UK

Client Coventry University Cost £30m

Completion 2022

The refurbished School of Art is united with adjacent buildings and functions with a new heartspace, a concept to stimulate new pedagogies for cross-disciplinary working in the fields of design, performing arts and media. The project acts as a new gateway and shop window to showcase the arts and engage with enterprise and the community.


City Campus, University of South Wales Location Newport, Gwent, UK Client University of Wales Newport Cost £26m

Completion 2011

On a very tight urban site, the building responds by layering activities vertically and integrates the Business School, and the School of Art, Media and Design. The ground level houses public exhibition/foyer/lecture and performing art space. The mid level accommodates the tiered library and restaurant plateau forming a social heart. The upper levels house flexible studio, workshop and teaching space wrapping around the yellow timber clad ‘hothouse’ suspended in central space.


Robert Gordon University Location Aberdeen, UK

Client Robert Gordon University

Cost £77m (three phases) Completion 2016

Set in a 120 acre mature landscape, schools of art, architecture, engineering, computing, life sciences and pharmacy are articulated as two linear teaching blocks grouped around an internal street and courtyard, encouraging social interaction between the academic schools.


London South Bank University, Keyworth Centre Location London, UK

Client London South Bank University Cost £17m

Completion 2002

We designed a nine-storey building on Keyworth Street, the main thoroughfare through the university. Our flexible teaching space sits alongside a west-facing glazed hall, which acts as a naturally ventilated buffer, mediating air and light from the hot, bright side of the building. The hall contains twin wooden towers dedicated to teaching, designed as ‘Romeo and Juliet’ pairings of rooms and terrace balconies.


University of Cambridge, Faculty of Education Location Cambridge, UK Client University of Cambridge Cost £9.6m

Completion 2005

The design concept creates a natural wrap of lawn and tree groupings to form a relaxed relationship of faculties, adjacent Georgian villa and rekindled garden. An interior social daylit street winds east to west through the garden from the entrance lawn. A library is placed alongside the lawn at the edge of the trees to receive glare free north light, while along the south side flexible teaching, seminar rooms and office space form a structured backdrop to the high side of neighbouring Homerton College.


Alliance Manchester Business School Location Manchester, UK

Client Alliance Manchester Business School Completion 2018

The University of Manchester’s Alliance Business School involved remodelling two conjoined buildings from the 1970s, reconnecting it with the city and providing world-class facilities. The remodelling creates an uplifting and appropriately scaled entrance, from which a simple axial route overlooking three open courtyards rises steadily through the building. The route culminates at the showpiece of the school, a palatial new study hall and library with a three storey window with views over Oxford Road.


University of East London, Business School and School of Computing Location London, UK

Client University of East London Cost £9.6m

Completion 2005

This information warehouse sets a 24/7 learning resource centre and business school on the longwater opposite London City Airport, maximising the reflective water, south light and views to the city beyond.


Kings College, Strand Campus Location London, UK

Client University of East London Cost £22m

Completion 2006

A conservation led programme of adaptation to the 1830s Grade I listed King’s Building re-establishes new social facilities, lecture theatre, teaching space and academic offices as the social heart of The Strand Campus. The project won the HEFCE Green Gown Award for Sustainable Construction 2007.


University of Essex, Business School Location Essex, UK

Client University of Essex Cost £14m

Completion 2015

The centre has an emphasis on postgraduate learning and research, with flexible group learning and media facilities to promote community and international links. It provides students, staff and business partners with innovative spaces and a collaborative environment, centred around a winter garden. The site is located in a parkland on a hillside overlooking an estuary, and forms an important link between the existing 1960s campus and the new knowledge gateway research park.


Craiglockhart Business School, Napier University

Location Edinburgh, UK

Client Napier University Cost £25m

Completion 2004

This is a refurbishment and extension of an existing building to change focus and create a multi-use campus. Our business school commission followed on from our masterplan to consolidate the university’s widely scattered facilities, Our solution was to create an atrium space between a listed existing building - which we refurbished and extended - and a new linear teaching block. The spaces in and around the atrium act as the learning resource centre for the business school. Within the atrium space we created two lecture theatres of 400 seats and 200 seats. The latter is in the form of a titanium egg signalling the new entrance.


Henley Business School, University of Reading

Location Reading, UK

Client University of Reading Cost £12.5m

Completion 2009

The building, set in mature parkland, connects the four elements of the business school including the world famous ICMA. It sets academic offices and flexible learning space around a social heartspace to create a convivial atmosphere for the exchange of ideas. Wood features widely throughout the building, not only for practical structural and efficiency purposes, but also to create warmth and a welcoming ambience.


Ron Cooke Hub, University of York Location York, UK

Client University of York Cost £15m

Completion 2010

The Hub is the public face of our masterplan for the campus at Heslington East. It is the gateway through which visitors enter the campus and, therefore, the most significant building on the site. A curving wing of offices,copper clad lecture theatre, demonstration box and study pods is expressed as discreet volumes which cluster together in and around a grand hall.


Glasgow Caledonian University, Saltire Centre Location Glasgow, UK

Client Glasgow Caledonian University Cost £16m

Completion 2006

Inclusive, inviting, sociable, accessible - a building where you want to be, the Saltire Centre defined the latest trends at the cutting edge of contemporary educational thinking through a range of stimulating learning environments from the ‘monastic’ to the ‘mall’.


Bournemouth University, Fusion Building Location Bournemouth, UK Client Bournemouth University Cost £22m

Completion 2016 The building enables the use of shared facilities between academic schools to foster cross school activity and maximise space utilisation, enhancing sustainable student facing facilities to ensure the university remains competitive. It provides a mix of flexible informal study and social collaborative spaces for staff and students fusing education, research and professional practice and realises the values of collaborative working and thinking across communities.


Learning and Teaching Building, University of Strathclyde Location Glasgow, UK

Client University of Strathclyde Cost £60m

Completion 2020 At the heart of its Rottenrow Campus, the new Learning and Teaching Building was created by stripping out and refurbishing two existing buildings, the Colville Building and the B-listed Architecture Building. The project also includes a new-build hub in between overlooking the university’s Rottenrow Gardens. This non-departmental facility offers a variety of learning and teaching spaces, ranging from small breakout spaces to a 400 seat lecture theatre. It also houses the student support services and the student union.


Smart Innovation Hub, Keele University Location Staffordshire, UK Client Keele University Cost £12m

Completion 2019

The innovation centre is the first in the UK to bring together a university management school and incubation space for new and developing businesses. It creates an environment that enables and facilitates the efficient and effective sharing of ideas, knowledge and expertise between businesses, academic researchers and the public to promote innovations in key areas such as social, environmental, health and medical technology.


Liverpool John Moores University Masterplan

Location Liverpool, UK

Client Liverpool John Moores University Completion 2014

A ten year development strategy created a university village in the centre of the city to improve the student experience, research facilities and civic engagement. Extensive stakeholder consultations informed the brief which integrates core functions and raises the quality of the estate. The masterplan ensured the university integrated with its very strong urban setting and set the strategy for a series of capital projects. Subsequently we were appointed to design the new academic hub building, involving the transformation of the Copperas Hill former postal sorting office.


Sheffield Hallam University Masterplan Location Sheffield, UK

Client Sheffield Hallam University Cost £220m

This single, sustainable and flexible campus will allow Sheffield Hallam to achieve its ambition of becoming the world’s leading applied university. The masterplan offers exceptional facilities and an estate that enables and encourages a new way of learning, researching and working.


Copperas Hill, Liverpool John Moores University

Location Liverpool, UK

Client Liverpool John Moores University Cost £100m

Completion 2018 This was a unique opportunity to transform a redundant city centre building, regenerate a city quarter and create a vibrant, student-focused heart for LJMU. The five storey former postal sorting office will be expanded to include two mezzanine floors and use of the roof for sports and recreation. It will house the university’s library, restaurants and retail space, and student zones will be created around the building to accommodate different working methods. The development will lead to the formation of LJMU’s Connected University Campus Village, with the new building becoming its central focal point and encouraging increased interaction and collaboration between different faculties.


Heslington East Masterplan

Location York, UK

Client University of York Cost £200m

Completion 2010

The campus is designed around the concept of a new living and learning community with each element creating a sense of place and human scale. Buildings are arranged around a series of distinct and intimately scaled landscape spaces, connected by pedestrian routes. This cluster comprises accommodation for three academic departments; computer science, law and management, and theatre, film and TV; a shared hub building, and accommodation for 600 students.


Manchester Metropolitan University Institute of Sport Location Manchester, UK Client University of Manchester Cost £12.5m

Completion 2022

The refurbishment of 99 Oxford Road provides a long term solution to the university’s future accommodation requirements for the Manchester Metropolitan Institute of Sport (MMIoS) and Business and Law. It also provides an opportunity to achieve the spatial brief for the Faculty of Science and Engineering and the Department for Sport and Exercise Sciences. The work will include the full refurbishment of the existing building, complete with a full strip out, new cladding, structural modifications, new substation, new building services systems and interiors throughout.


Canterbury Christchurch University Masterplan Location Canterbury, UK

Client Canterbury Christ Church University Completion 2015

We were commissioned to review the university’s estate and identified the emerging principles of enhancing the student experience, and assessed the university’s current and future needs. After re-evaluating the idea behind its four faculties, and its future space requirements for flexibility of use, we developed a masterplan which set the academic vision and identified development capacity for the North Holmes Campus.


University of Sunderland

Location Sunderland, UK Client University of Sunderland Cost £30m

Completion 2003 A true marriage of art and technology, the campus is designed around the concept of open accessible learning. Phase I consisted of the Business School and the Learning Amenity building, comprising a Learning Resource Centre, auditorium, lecture theatre and catering facilities. Phase II was the School of Computing and Information Systems and Phase III the School of Art, Media and Design.


Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University, Suzhou Location Suzhou, China

Client Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University Cost RMB 200m

Completion 2018

The first Sino-British joint venture between research led University of Liverpool and Xi’an Jiaotong University, this large-scale university campus incorporates world-class fully-equipped science and engineering laboratories, high-tech research and development facilities, a humanities building, science building and training centre, and exchange centre for an international education community of more than 10,000 students and staff.


International Business School Suzhou, China

Location Suzhou, China

Client Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University Cost £30m

Completion 2018

The school makes up the last building of the Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University (XJTLU) south campus. We were appointed in 2012 to masterplan the large-scale campus to provide world-class teaching, laboratory and research facilities, and have designed five faculty buildings on the site. The new building looks inwards facing the lake at the heart of the campus. It has been designed with a highly glazed east facing façade which activates interaction between the interior and the landscape around the lake. The detail of the glass louvres has been developed to maximise natural daylight whilst minimising solar gain.


Libyan Universities Location Libya

Client Libyan Government’s ODAC Completion 2010

Ten new universities, individually designed around their climatic regional settings of desert, mountain and coast, accommodate 28,000 students, providing international standard education opportunities.


Nanjing Medical University Location Jiansgu, China

Client Nanjing Medical University Cost £100m

Completion 2016

This highly sustainable medical building integrates teaching and research with museum and conference facilities connected via a series of stacked terraces beneath a daylit atrium on a landscaped lakeside campus.


National Synthetic Biology Technology Innovation Centre Location Tianjin, China

Client Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

The National Collaborative Innovation Centre of Chemical Science and Engineering is a partnership between Tianjin University and Nankai University. The competition design for the centre focuses on the innovative research on synthetic biology and bioprocessing engineering, exploring opportunities to engineer biosystems to fuel, feed and heal.


Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Location Mandi, India

Client Indian Institute of Technology Completion 2018

Located in forested hills in the western Himalayas, the 230 hectare campus responds to the microclimate and topography of the steep site. Building typologies echo the traditional style of Himalayan vernacular and strive towards creating a new architecture for the region.


Gavin Elliott Head of Education gavin.elliott@bdp.com

Photography: Nick Caville, Bharat Aggarwal David Barbour, Brian Borrett, Gareth Gardner, Martine Hamilton-Knight, John Kees, Sanna Fisher-Payne, Kilian O’Sullivan, Terrence Zhang Cover: University of Birmingham, Teaching and Learning Building


” The education sector is about much more than just learning. We aim to create innovative spaces that inspire and engage students.” — Gavin Elliott Head of Education


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