The University of Nottingham - Jubilee Campus / Innovation Park

Phase 2 Development
Gateway (Sir Colin Campbell), International & Amenities Buildings


Whilst the original campus buildings are modern and individual in design, there are three others on the site that were included in this second phase of development that look even more exciting. They are, The Gateway (Now re-named after the former Nottingham University Vice Chancellor Sir Colin Campbell who retired in September 2008), The International and The Amenities buildings. The main contractors were SOL Construction, and the structures were designed by Make Architects of London.

With a few exceptions in the city centre, and at other locations such as the South Side and NG2, Nottingham has, since the 1960's, so often been the victim of a total absence of architectural design flare and imagination with literally dozens of bland rectangular concrete and steel boxes marring the skyline.  These three new buildings clearly show that steel and concrete can take more imaginative forms and don't have to be devoid of detail and interest.   A brown field site such as this is also just the place to show this architecture off to its very best without intruding on and spoiling more conventional period street scenes and skylines.  This is one of my favourite city developments and The Sir Colin Campbell my favorite in this group

A late addition to the project, only approved in January 2008,  was the 'Aspire Tower'.  This sculpture / architectural feature was designed by 
Ken Shuttleworth (of London Gherkin fame), and was commissioned and funded by an anonymous benefactor to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the granting of the Royal Charter to the University   It stands 60 metres  high, weighs 845 tons, cost 800,000 and is covered in four different shades of red paint.  The tower was officially topped off on 23rd June by the Vice Chancellor Sir Colin Campbell. 

I'm no qualified architect or design expert, but now that the site is complete, I firmly believe that the Aspire Tower detracts from the other architecture.  It intrudes into many views of these imaginative buildings, spoiling the clean lines from many angles. It also forces photographers to include it at full height, again diverting attention from the buildings. A shorter version would have been far more appropriate. 





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This latest group of photographs below were taken on the 6th May 2013,  just over a year on from the previous set (below them).  It was noticeable just how much the planting and landscape work had matured in that time to further enhance this fine set of buildings. The third phase to the east of Triumph Road is also complete now and whilst this includes some excellent modern buildings, for me these three remain my favourites. Another development since my last visit is that the International Building has now been re-named 'The Yang Fujia' Building.

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The group of photographs below were taken on the 13th January 2012 - three years after completion, and with the grassed areas, shrub and tree plantings all now well established and the water features working.  As a result these three buildings now look even better and the Gateway (Sir Colin Campbell Building), is exceptional and sets off the entire campus. Very few buildings from any era look good from all directions of view, but to my mind this one does just that. It has however lost a little of is 'sparkle' as the zinc cladding has weathered since it was first exposed to the elements.  This is a shame and I hope it doesn't end up looking a drab dark grey in a few more years time.

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The photographs below were taken on the 22nd October 2008. On that date both the Gateway and International buildings were complete and occupied by university staff.  The Amenities building was also nearing completion, Triumph Road had been diverted to form a chicane past the new buildings and landscaping work and water features were at an advanced stage and just need the final touches.

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Finally, with apologies to Make Architects my further interpretation of their iconic Gateway Building
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When I first viewed The Gateway building from the east end, a vision of a futuristic space train coming in to land immediately came to mind.  This takes that impression a little further with some further inspiration from the movies!