East Kent College – Centre for Creative Industries
East Kent College’s new Centre for the Creative Industries was designed in collaboration with Richard Hopkinson Architects.
The centre provides a dynamic interface for collaborative work between different disciplines in the creative arts, and encourages business connections between the college and the community. Unusually it houses spaces for music, media, design, gaming design, practical art, editing, and photography as well a centre for entrepreneurial business development.
Conference of Creativity
A successful entry for an invited competition, our ambition for the scheme was to consolidate the college’s already strong academic pursuits and for them to be housed and nurtured in a single building where differing disciplines could collaborate, cross fertilise and exchange ideas. Secondly, the college wanted to link into the commercial world of creative industries by providing drop-in space and well-equipped facilities for local business and community benefit.
Our approach to the brief extracted three key points: It ‘opened things up’, inviting and encouraging scrutiny and engagement, it created ‘happen-chance’- mixing and lingering spaces, and it created flexible spaces which different disciplines could occupy and use either simultaneously or independently.
Activities are housed in two opposing but complimentary architectural components; one outward looking and extrovert, the other inward looking and introvert – connected by means of a transparent entrance lobby.
The outward looking component is comprised of a refurbished three storey 1960’s brick structure rearranged to take advantage of the site’s 360 degree views, and housing teaching, learning and collaboration spaces. The inward looking component takes the form of a dramatic elevated and twisted black cube which houses a simple multifunctional space that can be used for anything from dance to cinema performances. A unique architectural tension exists between the two principle components – inward v outward, light v dark, contextual v challenging.
The Education Business
To deliver the required access to the commercial sector, the building is equipped with business installations specifically enabled to allow student and industry collaboration – most notably, the student showcase Business Suite. The Business Suite provides a backdrop to student/industry interactions ranging from 1:1 consultation through to full scale presentations and opportunities for project sponsorship.
The scheme, like all our work, was delivered using BIM Level 2 as a crucial enabler particularly when envisaging and communicating the elevated cube component.
Date of delivery
Initially East Kent College, then novated to Walkers Construction at Stage 4
GIA: 1 698m² to NIA: 1 193m² Ratio: 1.42
Higher education, new sound recording studios, auditorium, computer laboratories and teaching spaces