Thirty years after they were designed by Roger Johnson, the University’s design studios did not function efficiently for staff or for the large number of students of each academic year. The space was not practical for the multiple tutorial and seminar groups that are essential to the teaching in each design studio. The design solution was to create glazed seminar pods within the existing off-form concrete structure to provide three 20-seat seminar/tutorial rooms. These provide aural privacy from the main studio space while maintaining connectivity and light penetration. As the budget was very tight, the pod design minimised any changes to existing air-conditioning or lighting systems. Spaces above the glazed screens were left open to allow for air circulation.
The “industrial” design aesthetic of the original studios has been retained in the design concept for the new works. Frameless glass panels are “glazed” into painted rolled steel beams spanning between the undersides of the concrete beams. Large sliding doors hang off industrial style aluminium runners. While the project is a very simple introduction of new pods, it has addressed the deficiencies of the original studios. It has provided new tutorial spaces with contemporary audio visual facilities and addressed the operational and acoustic deficiencies of the former studios.