Staffordshire University

Project Info

Client: Staffordshire University Location: Stoke-on-Trent Year: 2017

How creating a “Sticky Campus” helped students re-engage with Staffordshire University

The board of Governers at Staffordshire University had a commitment – making the school a top 50 entrant in the Sunday Times Top Universities list. When Squaredot were approached to take on the redesign of the campus they were placed outside of the top 100, so there was quite a journey ahead of them. The campus was essentially split into two clearly divided areas; the “core” campus was home to central recreational facilities, historically core subjects and the estates team, while the second area housed the arts block and main library. The facilities were perceived to be out-dated and inefficient, but also were lacking the appeal needed to keep students on campus outside of lectures.

The first step was to conduct research and analysis into the people actively using this existing space – lecturers, office staff and, of course, students. A week long on-site utilisation and observation study, backed up by interviews and a general but detailed understanding of what each user group did (and wanted to do but couldn’t), brought up some astonishing results.

These analyses determined why the perceived problems existed, ranging from inappropriate and underutilised spaces to an out-dated culture of educational attitude between staff and students. 82% of lecturer’s offices and 75% of teaching spaces were unused 100% of the time. Modern forms of collaborative teaching methods could not be carried out because they simply didn’t exist, and student’s rest and relaxation needs weren’t being met at all. These findings informed the brief to such a radical degree that all previous thinking on how to approach the redesign was scrapped, and a new brief developed. Squaredot’s vision was to create a “Sticky Campus”, a campus that encourages students to stay on site, use its facilities and generally create a level of engagement across all levels that offered a buzz to the overall facility. The hub of this vision was the 75,000ft² Brindley Building which would transform into a fluid and dynamic facility forming the new central focus of the entire campus, incorporating a central library, modern teaching facilities, collaborative areas, quiet study spaces and a new break area.

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