Lancaster University's campus is superbly sited on rising ground, surrounded by countryside. As a whole, it can be perceived almost as if it were a solid and continuous entity, and this is largely due to expedient building additions or extensions over the years - a common scenario. The challenge is to re-consolidate the campus without the need for massively costly and disruptive interventions. Our masterplan establishes a detailed, rational strategy for sustainable long term development.
We believe that the core layout of the campus need not be significantly re-cast. However, there is no satisfactory sense of 'arrival' at the campus. Its linear layout is not obvious, and it lacks cross-porosity. The existing green spaces do little to alleviate a feeling of micro-urban compaction. Our masterplan is driven by a fundamental aim: to break the physically solidified feel of the campus by energising its main spine with six distinct crossing routes. These will not only improve movement, but also emphasise the presence of the surrounding landscape.
This strengthening of the spine would be anchored by a number of key interventions: a new campus reception building of genuine 'gateway' quality, landscaping, better access roads, and improved public spaces, such as a new plaza at County College, and a redefined square in front of the George Fox Building. A phased programme of demolition and newbuild would be tied to careful massing and reference to the architecture of existing buildings.
The masterplan identifies that up to 23 low rise academic, administration and accommodation buildings of no more than four storeys height are possible. These are indicative proposals of what could be built on campus. Each plot will need to be considered in detail at the appropriate time.
This architectural and spatial strategy would have the effect of opening the campus - unbuttoning it, as it were, releasing its atmosphere of containment. It will become more convivial to study and live in. It will look better, and be easier to navigate; faculties will seem less separate. It will become a campus with far more ability to respond to the change and experiment that characterises 21st century education policy - and student expectations.