Architect Casson Conder Engineer Buro Happold Client University ofWarwick

The project arose from a decision made by the University that additional space was needed for the existing Students Union Building, due to the increasing number of students, and the need to provide many facilities which had not been available in the past.

The existing building had, in addition to a number of large spaces suitable for social activities, all the Students Union administrative offices. It was agreed to develop the larger spaces for students'

activities, but to remove all the administrative offices to the new building.

A number of retail services were to be provided to include a supermarket, post office, print shop and bar/restaurant.

After discussions with Buro Happold a decision was made that these latter facilities, where good daylighting was less essential should be placed at the ground level; whilst the offices and leisure rooms should be located on two upper levels where good daylighting

Plan of the Students Union

could be provided by both side windows and overhead roof lighting. This solution permitted an environmentally friendly building, where the energy used for artificial lighting during the day could be minimized.

The section and accompanying first floor plan shows the introduction of a central atrium running the length of the building, which provides maximum daylight through a sloping glass roof coupled with clerestorey lighting.

The daylight penetrates from the top down to the first floor level. Side daylighting enters from both the south and the north elevations, with additional brise soleil to the south to control sunlight, and light shelves at the first and second levels to light upwards to the ceilings.

Section through window to show solar shielding


Section to show central atrium

Section through window to show solar shielding

Atrium from first floor level
Daylighting to the atrium from roof level

The accommodation at first and second floor levels is lit from the South by windows and the central atrium, whilst the accommodaton to the north has an internal corridor with rooms doubled up, lit either from the north side or the central atrium.

The resulting solution ensures that the central area of the two upper floors are well daylit, and even catch some sunlight during certain hours of the day. The sun is not controlled by blinds and there is perhaps some danger of overheating from the overhead sun, though this would be rare in the UK.

Energy studies were carried out by Buro Happold, and a system of daylight linking by means of photocells, adopted to ensure that the level of artificial light is controlled during the day, and can be related to the level of the outside daylight. There is no Building Management System (BEMS) to provide a more direct control, but despite this, an economic energy solution has been provided.

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