New lecture theatre for Essex students

An innovative new £5 million building's opened at the University of Essex.

The University’s new Teaching Centre makes clever use of previously redundant space – it used to be the University’s central boiler house – and is situated 85 per cent underground.

The design means natural daylight is drawn into the space through a glazed sunken courtyard and ceiling, which, coupled with a large central communal space and bright décor.

The University says this big project shows it is committed to offering high quality, modern teaching space backed by state-of-the-art teaching technologies as the new academic year begins.

Alongside the 20 new teaching rooms it houses, equipped with interactive projectors, widescreen monitors, digital document cameras and audio lecture recording capability there is a theatre rehearsal room and drinks area. The centre is also bookable as an attractive and flexible venue for conferences and events outside of term time.

Led by the University’s award-winning Estate Management team, the project began in September 2009 and took 12 months to complete. The architect was Purcell Miller Tritton and contractors Hutton Construction.

Dr Tony Rich, the University’s Registrar and Secretary, said: “This project posed quite an engineering and design challenge – and the end result has exceeded everyone’s expectations. We’re looking forward to welcoming students into the centre as we start the new term.”