Client Bristol City Council and Excellence in Cities

The City Learning Centre at Monks Parks in Bristol is one of a series of Centres designed by the architects, Alec French Partnership, as apart of the Government's Excellence in Cities initiative, designed to provide specialist cutting edge ICT facilities for Bristol City Council.

The buildings were commissioned in February 2001 and completed in December, being designed to provide high quality stimulating environments for both the studious and the disaffected.

The lighting strategy for the building was as follows:

• To provide comfortably lit learning environments suitable for the use of computers

• To maximize the use of natural light, whilst minimizing solar gain

• To engage the circulation and social spaces with the outside environment

• To allow the users to be aware of changes in the weather and seasons.

A glance at the plans and sections indicate how these objectives have been achieved. The organization of the building is immediately understandable on entry into the central area, with its open top lit staircase. The extensive use of'Kalwall'translucent cladding forthe first floor walls allows high levels of natural light, whilst avoiding glare to the VDUs (see also the Chelsea Club, pp. 148-151). At ground floor level more traditional windows allow views out from the cafe and circulation areas.

The environment created within the teaching spaces by the translucent glazing at first floor level provides a good level of daylight without glare, whilst asequential change is made by the movement of the sun and the weather as it impinges on the exterior cladding. At night the walls appear translucent, giving a characteristic appearance when in use, which establishes the building in its setting.

The glazed angled projecting cafe provides daylight and views out linking the building clearly to its context, whilst solar gain is controlled by a series of horizontal oak louvres.

House Plans

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First floor plan

Ground floor plan

First floor plan

The view out from the projecting café

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