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Nomad News



Nomad News

Recent Projects

Featuring, ● King’s College London: Somerset House Experimental Teaching Space ● University of Warwick: “If ” A Vision for a New Humanities Building ● University Of West London: #FutureUWLibrary Research & Design Project

● Glasgow Caledonian University: Heart Of Campus Project Update ● University of Strathclyde: The Place @ Strathclyde ● University of Birmingham The Green Heart Project

King’s College London


Somerset House Experimental Teaching Space ● Six Innovative interconnected teaching and learning spaces in the basement of Somerset House. ● A conceptual solution that challenges the boundaries of traditional learning spaces. Following the successful completion of the Quadrangle Creative Consultation Project in 2012, Kings College London (KCL) commissioned our environments and communications teams to design a suite of experimental teaching and learning spaces in the world famous Somerset House. Due to our existing relationship with the college we were able to use our in-depth knowledge of the University to inform the design of these new spaces. The spaces are designed for use by all of the inhabitants of the Strand Campus. However, their primary purpose is to provide innovative teaching and learning spaces for

the College’s K+ Widening Participation Program. We worked with the K+ team and staff from across the College to create a series of spaces based on two fundamental values, which were prominent in our workshop consultations. These were: 1) Practical usable spaces for teachers and, 2) Inspirational and imaginative spaces to engage new students. There are a total of six unique spaces based on these principles with each room assigned a different type of activity. These include the ‘360 Room’ where the whole room can be turned into a 360-degree

teaching space or the ‘Build It’ room where modular furniture can be moved, stored or altered to fit each group with ease. We answered the practical element of the project by creating three key products common to all the rooms. These are, A) A bespoke teaching wall system comprising sliding panels faced with a range of materials, B) A partition wall which conceals storage titled the ‘icon wall’ and C) A vintage sideboard where objects and materials can be displayed or stored. To tackle the imaginative and inspiring strand of the project we created a visual identity

based on the idea behind the phrase, ‘Terra Incognita.’ Terra Incognita was the term used by early explorers and cartographers to describe an unknown place, and we saw this as the perfect metaphor to describe the journey young people would be taking when embarking on the space. KCL motifs were used to create this imaginary world, and the graphic style was used to link a very generous circulation hall with the six teaching and learning spaces, creating a sense of continuity.

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Project Research Our team had already carried out an extensive research project scoping out the refurbishment of the Quadrangle Building, also located in The Strand Campus. We were therefore well placed to approach this project with plenty of information and insights. To focus the project further, however, we held workshops with the K+ Widening Participation Program and with our own teaching and learning consultants to understand their requirements better and

KEY INSIGHTS ● Maintaining the relationship between client and designer can lead to exciting new opportunities for both parties and increasingly enhanced design solutions. ● Space should be simple, flexible and practical with straightforward solutions for storage, display and interaction. ● The emotional dimension of a physical space is important – the space must support and inspire new students. ● Flexible spaces need structure. Without this they can become disorganised and messy.

STATISTICS ● 01 Large neoclassical building ● 06 Experimental teaching rooms ● 03 Unique bespoke prod- ucts ● 03 Stakeholder Groups (Learning & Teaching / Widening Participation / Courtauld Institute) ● 03 Creative Workshops ● 01 Graphic Identity ● 92 Imaginary places in- vented ● 262 M2SQ of graphic artwork

to make sure that the spaces were bespoke, flexible and inspiring. The Director of the Widening Participation Program has recently stated that the new Learning Centre “has transformed our work in widening participation.” Not only does it meet all their practical needs, but “[a]s soon as groups walk into the Learning Centre they respond with awe and a sense of exploration. As one young person said ‘this feels magical’.

University of Warwick


‘If ’ A Vision for a New Humanities Building ● People-centred research project creates a vision for future development In October 2015 we were commissioned by the University of Warwick to design and carry out a people centred consultation project, which focused on their Humanities Department. Over the years the Department’s building had become outdated, and the Department wanted to carry out an investigation to understand the appetite and ideas for a new build. As this was a purely exploratory project, the time frame and budget were limited. To meet this challenge we created a bespoke project which coupled social media with field activities such as Soft Interviews. Key to this strategy was a project identity which would create a strong online and offline presence. The title “If ” was selected to represent the hypothetical nature of the project, creating a sense of exploration and intrigue: “If there were to be a new Humanities building, what

would you want it to look and feel like?” Accompanying the project was the visual identity that used silhouettes of iconic buildings to suggest that if a new Warwick Humanities building were built it could be the next iconic building on the list. The combination of a strong and strategic online and offline marketing campaign, visual identity and wellcrafted research questions meant we received one of our highest and most in-depth participant returns. Our research provided the University with the support they needed for a sound funding application and laid the base for a unique and innovative architectural brief. The project is currently in the funding review process, and we look forward to seeing a new iconic Humanities Building on campus in the near future.

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Project Research Social media is the most successful method we have used to date to reach the highest quantity of people in the shortest period. A blog formed an accessible online platform that was used alongside a project Twitter account to spark interest, advertise events and act as a forum for discussion. Once on-site interviews were completed and the data analysed, the blog was used to mount a series of polls which clarified the current research and focused on some of the most interesting insights and ideas.

In collaboration with the University, a series of 12 soft-interview questions were devised inquiring into student studying habits, their sense of community and the underlying identity of the Faculty of Arts, which is housed within the Humanities building. These interviews were carried out by our peer researchers who always strive to maintain an informal and conversational interviewing style in order to capture genuine rather than forced responses.

STATISTICS ● 03 Months active research ● 1655 Visits to the blog ● 191 Twitter followers ● 97 Poll takers ● 03 Days on site ● 98 Soft interviews ● 20 Formal interviews ● 05 Creative workshops

KEY INSIGHTS ● Creative consultations provide insightful and informative information for our design team, but must continue throughout a lengthy project. ● Before the Heart of Campus project, many students were not aware of the range of services and support available to them. The Consultation Project alone increased student awareness. ● The sense of community on campus is important, and the design should consider this if not seek to reinforce this.

University of West London


#FutureUWLibrary Research & Design Project ● Specialists consultants sourced to ensure a unique project for UWL ● The centerpiece of a £50 Million pound investment in the Ealing Campus

University of West London is currently undertaking a major transformation of their St Mary’s Road Campus in Ealing, with the refurbishment of the original library at the heart of this new development. As the project progressed, however, the University recognised that some expertise was needed to help understand what their students actually wanted and needed from the space, and how these insights could be incorporated into the rapidly progressing project. Our team was appointed as specialist consultants and designers late in the building program, which meant we

had to mobilise our team at lightning speed. To complicate maters further we were appointed at the start of term three, which gave us a very narrow window of opportunity to run consultation events with students before the end of term. Yet, with tried and tested research methods and an experienced team, we were clearly up to the task. Once our research phase was complete we used the data gathered to carry out a critical survey of the existing space and make recommendations, following which the University appointed us to carry out more detailed designs. Work-

ing with a budget which had been limited by the design and building work already undertaken, we produced a specification and strategy that defined each floor while simultaneously uniting them. An interesting aspect of this design was the library ‘nondesk’. During most of the academic year the library front desk would act as playful signage. At key times during the year the giant letters would be transformed into a service desk with the simple addition of a glass top. Through our research students repeatedly told us that their favorite alternative

study spaces were the park, the beach, or the forest. Each of the hand drawn graphics, therefore, represents these locations, with rock patterns, water motifs and wood grain illustration adding a unique identity to the building. The library opened in September 2015 and we have had fantastic feedback from the client and also students via the University's twitter and Facebook.

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Second Floor Quiet


Third Floor Silent

First Floor Group Study

Ground Floor Active

Project Research To create a buzz around campus we designed a marketing campaign and identity to alert students to the project and drive them towards a specially designed blog where we mounted stories, polls and even ran a competition over twitter. As with previous projects, the #FutureUWLibrary project reached a much wider audience due to a strong visual identity and social media campaign.

STATISTICS ● 06 Active research weeks ● 328 Visitors to blog ● 10 Visits per day (Avg) ● 17 Poll responses ● 03 Days on site ● 95 Soft interviews ● 02 Days observation ● 01 Online competition ● 15 Entries

KEY INSIGHTS ● Taking the refurbishment of a particular area out with the wider main contractor timescales can allow more time to get things right. ● Competitions can be used to gather valuable information. In this case a photography proved a rich source of insights into spatial preferences.

However, it is still important to have people on the ground interacting with students and staff to gather rich face-to-face insight. We therefore also sent two peer researchers to the campus to interview students and carry out observation tasks. Coupled with the online data, this research provided insights that would clearly define the design of the refurbished campus.

Glasgow Caledonian Universit


Heart of Campus Project Update ● Ambitious Campus-Wide £30m Redevelopment ● Four Year Project approaches conclusion Over the last six years, we have carried out various studies for Glasgow Caledonian University that examine the campus and how the University’s space can be maximised to improve the student experience. Our collaboration with the University has been ongoing since 2010 when we were appointed as joint consultants alongside Page/Park Architects to create a masterplan, which ultimately led to the Heart of Campus Project. The Heart of Campus project is a multi-level build program that seeks to link, both physically and intellectually, several buildings on the main Glasgow campus through an

intensive refurbishment program. Our role in the project was twofold. Initially, we acted as specialist consultants working with staff and students to gather information to enrich the brief. Following this our role then morphed to that of interior design specialist, interpreting this information and creating real solutions. This summer will see the Heart of Campus Project reach its conclusion when the finishing touches will be made to the second phase of the project, The Hamish Wood Building. The redevelopment and refurbishment of the building will see a new arrival pavilion, with bespoke

exhibition space, open to welcome visitors to a flexible and multi-functioning conference facility, along with several new experimental learning spaces. The earlier phase of the project, The George Moore Building, was concluded last summer, providing a new Student Services mall and innovative restaurant and learning space for up to 500 students. Incorporated into the project is also an impressive outdoor landscape that brings muchneeded parkland to the city centre, transforming a once grey campus into something a little greener.

Nomad RDC Recent Projects • #002



Project Research


ed detailed insights into their hopes and fears. This early data coupled with continuous input from the blog, (Now the project’s official blog and space to update students on all the campus developments) was used to guide the design of the interiors, architecture and even landscape from early development stages through to completion.

● Be persistent – students are keen to contribute to the university when given the time and supporting materials to communicate. ● Social media can be used to create a dialogue between an institution and the general public through physical manifestations – in this case through the building site hoarding and instagram, twitter and university website via a hashtag and QR code. ● The breadth of qualities, knowledge and identity of an institution can be successfully represented by the very people who make it up.

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Have your say.

site blog twitter @gcucampusfuture




The research and consultation process for the Heart of Campus was one of our most ambitious projects at that point, combining on-site observations, formal interviews, student interviews, workshops, an online blog and social media presence. Due to the scale of the project, the most important activities were a series of complex interlinked collaborative workshops with students and staff that provid-

● 03 Months active research ● 1655 Visits to the blog ● 191 Twitter followers ● 97 Poll takers ● 03 Days on site ● 98 Soft Interviews ● 20 Formal interviews ● 05 Creative workshops



University of Strathclyde


The Place @ Strathclyde ● People Centred research project explores a major new project designed to enhance the student experience at the University. We are currently in the middle of an extensive research and creative consultation project with the University of Strathclyde, looking at the potential redesign and refurbishment of the current campus to provide students with “a place of useful learning”. The key to achieving this concept is the design of multifunctional spaces that combine the Student Union, Student Services and state of the art Learning and Teaching facilities. We

have so far held a four-day creative consultation event on site where we interviewed students and staff, and carried out some interactive activities including cognitive mapping. We have also designed and hosted a series of bespoke interlinked creative workshops that aim to uncover a combined vision for the future campus from the University’s three key stakeholders; students, academic teams and Student Services.

STATISTICS...SO FAR ● 03 Active months ● 04 Workshops ● 04 Days on site ● 134 Soft interviews ● 68 Cognitive maps

Nomad RDC Recent Projects • #002


● People Centred research project aimed at generating innovative ideas for a 49,000m2 landscaping project. ● Gathering the vision of students staff and the local community. STATISTICS...SO FAR ● 04 Active months ● 1927 Unique visitors to blog ● 4972 Views of the blog to date ● 05 Days on site ● 100 Soft interviews ● 02 Days observation ● 20 Cognitivte maps ● 23 Concept maps ● 01 Outdoor workshop

The University of Birmingham is in the midst of one of the most exciting and transformational campus redevelopments since the campus was first completed in 1909. Key to this project is the completion of a new library that allows the demolition of the old university library and the re-landscaping of the central campus grounds. We have been assigned the role of research and project consultants, developing a new Green Heart for the University: a central green space, which will

provide multiple functions, representing and enhancing the University’s identity. For this project, we will be working alongside the landscape architect Chris Churchman who we previously collaborated with on Glasgow Caledonian University’s Heart of Campus project. So far we have held a five-day consultation event where students and staff took part in activities including, interviews which focused on how students envisage the future

space and behavioural/concept mapping exercises, aimed at understanding how users perceive and use the space. The Green Heart is an exciting project where our research will actively inform the design to ensure that future spaces will reflect the hopes of the users and provide innovative solutions for outdoor learning spaces.

University of Birmingham

The Green Heart Project


Nomad turns 10! 1022 Soft interviews 1572 Polls takers 56 Workshops 10 Blogs

● Meta-analysis

● Outdoor Learning spaces

October 2016 marks our 10th Birthday. It’s been a whole decade since we became a registered company way back in 2006, and what an incredible ten years it has been. We’ve had the privilege of working with some of the most respected and forwardthinking education and healthcare institutions in the country, developing many relationships, even friendships along the way.

In every campus we have visited, we always find students sitting on the steps of buildings chatting or reading a book while others improvise impromptu study spaces on lawns and under trees. Throughout our research, the notion of outdoor learning spaces has persistently repeated, and we have proposed many ideas based on existing models such as pavilions, amphitheatres, cabins, pergola’s, teahouses and follies. Following the completion of the meta-analysis our team set a research and development project examining these spaces and developing some conceptual models. Now, our models are ready to be developed and will be seeking out brave clients to help us to develop and evaluate our ideas over the next year.

14,221 Blog visits 104 Days observation 583 Maps

To celebrate this landmark year, we have undertaken a metaanalysis of all of our research projects to date. The goal of the meta-analysis project is to draw out the most common themes repeated throughout all of our projects and confirm the principles and methods we have been promoting while hopefully uncovering new ones. The meta-analysis project is nearing completion and has been the inspiration for several selfinitiated projects including:

● Products A range of products developed directly from our most successful projects to date and the results of our meta-analysis. These include:

Centre place

● The Learner Cards A set of cards profiling the most frequent learner types we have encountered through our research, and the models of spaces appropriate to their needs. The deck of cards is split into two sets, the learners themselves and the spaces thatz could suport them. The cards can be used to aid strategic planning, or as part of a workshop aimed at generating ideas. (1.1)

#1 Retractable Collaboratories – Lightweight and simple to operate these retractable screens are inspired by the simplicity of Japanese lanterns and can be pulled down with ease to create temporary meeting spaces. The screens will be available in two materials, a lightweight shoji paper that has fantastic light transmitting properties and a denser felt, which should aid acoustics.


Study Buddies










#2 Landscape Island modules – A range of solid foam benches and work surfaces inspired by the terrain of Scotland. The modules will be available in varying heights and dimensions which can be used individually or built up to create a feature landscape-like item which can be used to delineate and organise large open plan spaces. #3 Floating Canopies – A collection of suspended felt forms designed to offer a degree of privacy and sound absorption in large open plan spaces. Several shapes will be available as will floor mounted versions suitable for atria.

Highly Active

● Vision Workshops A set of creative workshops designed to produce a vision document combining diagrams, visual material and design principles generated by the people who know the space or service best. The resulting vision document can be used to brief architects or other building professionals and help guide the project through to completion. These workshops represent our most efficient and effective model to date, and we have now packaged them to offer to our clients as a DIY kit.



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Nomad N.ewspaper #2  

Issue #2 from Nomad RDC

Nomad N.ewspaper #2  

Issue #2 from Nomad RDC