Bury St Edmunds
Coulson Building Group were appointed alongside Windsor & Patania Architects to design and build this innovative building within an existing building to house the colleges cutting edge technology and new hands on learning facility with virtual and augmented reality.
The project is called XR Lab, which is located inside Hangar 2 of the colleges STEM building and offices. Offering virtual and augmented spaces, students will be able to interact with digital components that don’t actually exist in the physical world. With immersive technology, students can get hands-on with digitally created objects time and time again, using this hybrid of real-world and digitally created environments to develop their practical skills. This hub will not only be used by the college but the local community in Suffolk, and in particular, the opportunities it will create for young people.
The architects wanted to bring a design element to The XR Lab that was in keeping with the captive character of the hub. The XR Lab maintains an exterior that is simple and inviting yet with an appearance of curiosity. The building was constructed by a steel portal frame, timber roof structure and deck which supported the M&E plant, metal stud walls which formed the external walls along with bespoke timber frame and plasterboard forming the unique feature end panels. The finish on the outside was polished plaster with acoustic panels to the inner walls. Within the lecture theatre this stored all the virtual reality equipment and an entire teaching wall with floor to ceiling high screens where students will be sat at futuristic looking desks to immerse themselves into the digital world. The existing hanger was stripped back and painted white to make the XR lab stand even more out when looking in from the outside.