The Digi-Tech Factory

  • © Phil Coffey, Coffey Architects
  • © Phil Coffey, Coffey Architects
  • © Phil Coffey, Coffey Architects
  • © Phil Coffey, Coffey Architects
  • © Phil Coffey, Coffey Architects
  • © Phil Coffey, Coffey Architects
  • © Phil Coffey, Coffey Architects
  • © Phil Coffey, Coffey Architects
  • © Phil Coffey, Coffey Architects
  • © Phil Coffey, Coffey Architects
  • © Phil Coffey, Coffey Architects
  • © Phil Coffey, Coffey Architects
  • © Phil Coffey, Coffey Architects
  • © Phil Coffey, Coffey Architects
  • © Phil Coffey, Coffey Architects
  • © Phil Coffey, Coffey Architects
  • © Phil Coffey, Coffey Architects
  • © Phil Coffey, Coffey Architects
  • © Phil Coffey, Coffey Architects
  • © Phil Coffey, Coffey Architects

Application Type

Civic Trust Awards

Level of Award

Highly Commended

Region

Eastern

Local Authority Area

Norwich

Information about this scheme

The Digi-Tech Factory is a new home for City College Norwich’s technology, engineering and design courses in one lucent building. A factory-influenced design shifts from a standard school-like environment, offering a creative and light-filled atmosphere to energise users. The building comprises teaching, learning and social space for nearly 500 students, and includes speciality spaces such as robotics labs, digital studios and e-labs alongside general classrooms and support areas. Outside a welcoming mesh canopy threshold draws people in, providing a place to meet and find shelter on rainy days. Here there is a visible connection through hard/ soft landscaping to the rest of campus. When facing south, one sees flowering wild grass wrapping the edge of the college and to the north there is access to the central boulevard and other school buildings beyond.

In the spirit of the industrial design, it champions, the envelope comprises sustainable and quick to assemble off-the-shelf components, incorporating an exposed steel frame grid and a thermal envelope of lightweight composite panels and glass. Working with an external screen of white aluminium mesh and corrugated aluminium that unifies the building form and modulates the interior and exterior environments, the overall feeling is of lightness and air. The interior design reflects the narrative of its use, as a discernible digital ‘factory’ features exposed structure and services, allowing students, staff and visitors to understand how the building works through its visible mechanics. Beneficial to the building’s educational pursuit, this also allows for lasting flexibility for services and facilitating future modifications. Digi-Tech Factory plays an intrinsic role in the wider local community, providing night school and adult learning courses and working with industry partners to provide courses to meet the needs of businesses. Its presence has a direct impact on the local economy, as digital technologies are seen as a key to investment, future skills, and contemporary industry.

Judges’ Comments:

“A brilliantly simple legible scheme which will last well into the future.”

Credits

Architect

Coffey Architects

Client

City College Norwich

Main Contractor

RG Carter

Quantity Surveyor

Real Consulting

Services Engineer

Clear Consulting and Design

Structural Engineer

Clancy Consulting

Interior Designer

XL Werks

Landscape Architect

LanPro

Project Manager

Real Consulting

Acoustic Engineer

Adrian James Acoustics

Building Inspector

Build Insight

CDM

CDM Contract Services

Fa├žade Engineering

Just Facade

Primary Use Class

Class D1c - Education