Landmark Coventry University building designed by Broadway Malyan opens to students

A new building for Coventry University that challenges the traditional health and science pedagogy has opened to its first cohort of students.

The £37 million Science and Health Building provides state of the art facilities and a unique immersive learning experience for students within the university’s Health and Life Sciences Faculty.

Designed by Broadway Malyan, the 120,000 sqft building is one of a number of new projects being delivered by the practice as part of a major 10-year investment programme by the university which has been voted Best Modern University for three years running.

Neil Rose, who led the project for Broadway Malyan, said working closely with academics and students from the beginning of the design process helped to create a building that was not only a unique learning facility but also an exciting addition to Coventry’s urban landscape. He said:

“Working closely with our university stakeholders allowed us the challenge the traditional science and health pedagogy and shift the emphasis from the standard cellular teaching and office space model towards and more active and practical ‘real life’ approach to learning.”

“This is a building that has been designed from the inside out, driven by the needs of the users and how collaboration between spaces can be maximised.”

Highly specialised facilities have been designed that replicate the patient journey from accident and emergency through to recovery with interactive spaces that include a mock ambulance, simulated hospital wards and operating theatres and two purpose built community houses for physiotherapy and rehabilitation.

The building also includes Lab+, an industry grade education based laboratory which can house up to 250 students at one time, the largest teaching lab of its kind as well as Olympic-grade fitness and sports research facilities.

Externally the building responds to the surrounding eclectic urban grain that ranges from Grade II listed heritage to post war development and includes the magnificent Coventry Cathedral designed by Basil Spence in the 1960s.

The material palette has been kept to a minimum reflecting the elemental simplicity of the architecture with the building predominantly constructed of handmade brick with strong exposed concrete blades and anodized dark grey window frames.

Within the scheme the atrium space and courtyard function as one large interconnected space bringing the outside in and vice versa. This is enhanced by an internal timber cladding that creates an inviting ambience that is complemented by the natural light generated by the triple height glazed façade.

Professor Guy Daly, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Health and Life Sciences, added:

“Whether they are paramedics who have learnt to ventilate a patient while in our state-of-the-art ambulance, occupational therapists who have practised supporting a person returns home from hospital in our community houses, or sports therapists who have treated a member of the public for a running injury – they will have experienced real-life situations within the safety of the university.

“This building is for the whole community and will have a lasting legacy for the city, region and further afield. The research being carried out here has the potential to change lives and the healthcare workers trained here will save lives. We hope it will inspire, while bringing learning to life.”