University of Sussex Jubilee Building entrance

- Higher Education

University of Sussex: A decade of development on this unique campus

— CLIENT
University of Sussex

— SECTOR
Higher Education

— SERVICES
Architecture
Heritage
Interior Design
Landscape Design
Masterplanning

— VALUE
Various

— LEAD CONTACTS
Dianna Fletcher
John Newman
Roger FitzGerald

Challenge

We’ve worked closely with the University of Sussex for over fifteen years, from developing their masterplan to designing a number of new buildings for their campus. Founded in 1959, the campus is characterised by its listed buildings designed by Sir Basil Spence, as well as the surrounding South Downs National Park. Growth in the late twentieth century had failed to maximise these assets, and our plan needed to correct this – while also helping the University to achieve its target of growing from 12,000 to 18,000 undergraduates.

Approach + Solution

Our masterplan has gone through three main iterations since the University first appointed us. We identified three main areas of development: two residential areas (East Slope and West Slope), and a new academic area in the south-eastern part of the campus. Our first project following the masterplan was Swanborough House – three wings of student residences – and a centrally bookable teaching facility called the Fulton Building.

Many of our projects for the University reinterpret and respond to the architectural vocabulary of Spence’s buildings, from the Jubilee Building’s large planes of brick signposting the main entrance to our consistent palette of materials. Our masterplan also considered the need for improved transport infrastructure, and in 2018 we delivered a new multi-storey car park close to our Jubilee Building.

Sustainability played a key role on several of the projects. The Fulton Building is naturally ventilated, with a concrete frame to act as a heat sink – helping to regulate the temperature inside. We also carried out a major refurbishment on the Freeman Building, greatly improving its environmental performance while providing students and staff with modern, flexible facilities.

Projects such as the Jubilee Building act as new landmarks on the campus, and we’ve helped the University to grow with confidence in its world-class teaching and research credentials. We continue to work on the campus, and look forward to what the future holds for Sussex.

“[The Jubilee Building]’s better, I think, than we ever imagined. You can look at models, but it’s only when you go on site that you get a sense of the real scale of it. It’s just fantastic.”

– PROFESSOR MICHAEL FARTHING, FORMER VICE-CHANCELLOR OF THE UNIVERSITY OF SUSSEX