Client : Oaklands College
DLA’s £50 million masterplan for the regeneration of Oaklands College’s St Alban’s campus has received planning consent from the Secretary of State. Our phased masterplan strategically replaces the outdated buildings, in order to create a modern and forward-looking campus.
Once a manor house and former agricultural college, the St Albans campus has evolved over the years with an assortment of teaching facilities in its grounds. Although a highly successful college, much of the estate is no longer fit for purpose and is in need of radical overhaul to meet modern expectations. DLA’s architectural response groups departments and student-focussed uses around a new college square, to enrich the college community. Nine new buildings are introduced by the masterplan, connected by landscape improvements, which will enhance the Green Belt setting.
Encouraging a permanent student presence on the campus is vital to the overall masterplan, which The Homestead will help to deliver. Accommodating 80 ensuite study bedrooms, including 4 wheelchair accessible rooms and 2 warden’s rooms as well as a student Social Learning Space, collaborative workspaces and lounge areas, The Homestead is intended to reflect the architectural quality of its agricultural and greenbelt setting and is designed with a material palette of brick, timber, and slate.
The largest new addition to the campus will be the General Teaching Building, which will house flexible spaces for a range of courses. The building is organised into four linked blocks of seminar rooms and Category 1 and 2 laboratories over two floors. External materials are black sine-wave zinc and engineering brick, which continues the architectural theme of handmade materials with close attention to detail.
To address the need for a clear College entrance, a new Student Centre has been designed to act as the Gateway Building. It will be home to the main Learning Resource Centre and administration offices, ensuring that student support services are easily accessible, as well as the college’s main reception. The Gateway opens up onto the new College Square and will be clad in black glazed terracotta.
The Construction and Engineering building brings together courses for construction trades into one academic setting. Generous workshops are created on the ground floor for the major trades: plastering, electrical, and painting & decorating. Above are seminar rooms for each discipline. Clad in standing seam zinc and with an undulating zigzag roof, the corner dramatically cantilevers over the forecourt to signal the entrance and is lined in a striking red Danpolon.
Other accommodation on campus will include a Sports Pavilion, with new facilities for both students and the local community, a children’s nursery with four class rooms and support areas and an Equestrian Centre, featuring a green roof.
The Principal of Oaklands College has made the following statement:
“The masterplan will help us achieve our vision of improving the facilities for our College. Our students and staff continue to contribute so much to the local community and by offering exceptional and highly sustainable learning facilities we will create an asset the community can truly be proud of.”
Zoe Hancock, Principal of Oaklands College.