CitySpace, University of Sunderland

CitySpace, University of Sunderland

Client: University of Sunderland
Architect: FaulknerBrowns Architects
Type of works: design and manufacture of Desso's Reclaim and Flux carpet tiles.

The University of Sunderland's new £12m flagship sport and social facility, CitySpace, provides facilities for both university students and the general public and include full sporting and fitness services, as well as a new catering provision and social spaces.

Desso's ecologically-intelligent carpet tile Reclaim was specified for use in a number of areas including the triple-height social space, large scale seating steps, reception and breakout areas. Reclaim consists of 70% post-industrial waste and is suitable for a wide range of environments that demand durability and economic sustainability.

Desso's Cradle-to-Cradle certified carpet tile Flux in a shade of Dark Grey was used for a variety of office spaces such as the staff room and security room. In addition, Flux was used in two colourways for the fitness suite. The Citrus Green carpet tile of matt and shiny yarn provides the desired contrast to the Grey to define walkways and the fitness zone. The Cradle-to-Cradle certification means that Flux has been through rigorous testing from materials composition and effect on health and the environment through to recyclability.

Garry Bothwell, Project Coordinator at the University of Sunderland comments: "The main reasons for the selection of Desso's Flux and Reclaim carpet tiles were that the aesthetics of the products tied in with the architects vision yet remained within the allocated budget. In addition, the available colour choice tied in with the building colour scheme. As the product was readily available it allowed the contractor to meet project targets."

Whilst providing a range of flexible and highly efficient internal spaces, the design of this ambitious project will dramatically change the face of the City Campus, and will add interest at street level from its prominent location on one of the main routes into Sunderland. The design challenge was to ensure that each activity would respond fully to the diverse needs of the university population, but at the same time, that they could each occur simultaneously. To achieve this ambition, the new centre is focused around the open triple height space which gives a visual connection and access to all facilities.

A distinctive façade comprising pre-cast concrete panels with inset coloured glazing unites to enclose the central hub space. The solid mass of the south elevation then moves to a more open, highly glazed façade on the east side of the building that incorporates the main entrance and overlooks the university square.

Alistair Stripp, Project Director at FaulknerBrowns Architects comments: "The Sports and Social Building is a new building at the city centre campus providing students with full indoor sports hall facilities, a climbing wall and full gym and exhibition event space. Within the dynamic building of unique shaped pre-cast concrete panels and green glazing Desso's Reclaim was used as the main carpet to manage acoustics whilst Desso's Flux carpet was used in bright green to provide feature areas to the gym. Desso helped provide a carpet for circulation routes that met the need for an acoustic improvement with both a good looking contract wear tile and an environmental policy to the company and the product."

Facilities at the university comprise a six badminton court sports hall, a 70 station fitness suite, sports massage and injuries centre, multi-purpose room, indoor climbing wall, and retail, catering, leisure and exhibition spaces. It will also be a strong addition to the University's support for world athletes following its selection as a Paralympic Training Centre for the 2012 London Games.

CitySpace was named Sunderland’s Best Commercial Building at the recent local Building Excellence Awards 2010.

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