The University of Worcester has made a significant investment over the past five years in new and refurbished facilities to enhance the learning experience of its students. One of these facilities is the main St John’s Campus restaurant. The estates team was keen to modernise the space, making it lighter, brighter and more inviting. As the University often welcomes groups of students for courses out of term time, they needed the space to be flexible to accommodate bespoke groups with different requirements.
University of Worcester
Architecture, Interior Design, Building Services, Civil & Structural Engineering,
As part of ongoing campus regeneration, the University of Worcester identified the need for improvements to the main restaurant at the St John’s campus. The ONE team quickly assessed the problems caused by high background noise levels and dark lighting and set about creating a design that would combat these issues, while giving the space a modern fresh feel that followed the design flow from the kitchen and servery area that had been refurbished months earlier.
Their lighting solution accentuated the building structure and created an efficient use of light that makes the area feel brighter, while new accent lighting gives it interest and rhythm. The light shelves that diffuse light are also acoustic baffles, which have reduced the sound levels – a key client requirement.
As part of the design workshops student representatives gave feedback on initial designs, which led to the creation of a separate lounge area that offers students a more informal place to relax.
The whole design of the restaurant is brought together via the three Bistro Bars that have been carefully placed matching the repetition of the structure to offer differing levels, dividing the area and creating visually strong elements that add interest and scale.
The new design has incorporated a number of dual purpose features such as the high level sound baffles, which not only work to reduce sound and diffuse light from the upper windows but have also been used to add interest and accommodate accent lighting.
As the University needed to complete the works before a large group of international students arrived, One’s disciplines worked closely together with the client to procure a contractor via a two stage process that allowed the team to meet this tight timeframe. This process also included a strict phasing programme that allowed the food servery to continue operating throughout the works.
The Bistro Bars are not only a visually interesting design element but they also act as partitions which have given the university a flexible space that can accommodate different groups of people for more formal/set dining arrangements, such as when groups of international students visit.