Uclan Student Centre

Project: UCLan Student Centre & University Square
Location: Preston
Lead Architects: Hawkins\Brown

Contractors: Bowmer + Kirkland

Artwork Budget: £10,000

Site Programme: 36 months
Service: Public Art Sub-Consultant
Artists (3 of 4): Bonnie Craig (Pattern Artist & Designer )

Awards: NW Regional Construction Awards 2021: ‘Lancashire Sub-Regional Project of the Year Award’

Schüco Excellence Awards 2021 : Education and Health with the project’s structural and technical prowess applauded

RIBA North West Award 2023 : The jury the new Student Centre and University Square redefined the interaction between the University and city of Preston – with an impressive approach to sustainability being a BREEAM Excellent and EPC A-rated.

Commissioned by University of Central Lancashire (UClan) to work as a sub-consultant under lead architects Hawkins\Brown, from 2017, Atoll helped develop an integrated public art strategy linked to the £60m Student Centre and University Square now built in Preston as part of the UCLan Masterplan – and completed in 2021 despite Covid-19. See a video timelapse of the entire construction process here.

A number of artist commissions evolved out of that strategy following the earlier Testbed commission. These residencies were developed in consultation with a public art steering group involving various stakeholders.

As part of these commissions, local pattern artist and designer Bonnie Craig was commissioned to develop some interior artworks to key areas of the interior glazing around the new Student Centre. Applied glass ‘manifestation’ is traditionally used to serve a functional purpose – including privacy screening, health & safety warnings and graphic advertising. In this commission, whilst the artworks in some cases do serve a privacy function, they are also seen as dynamically bold and graphic applied ‘industrial’ artworks in their own right. The designs also pick up on one of the lead architect Hawkins\Browns original design philosophies: Their analogy of ‘weft & weave’ both alluded to Preston’s textile history going back to the Industrial Revolution, as well as the careful assimilation of architecture into the community, and helped them win the original design competition.

Bonnie’s beautiful patterning artworks (titled All A Line Can Be) were created with the artist working initially with Atoll’s assistance alongside client UClan, lead architects Hawkins\Brown and Contractors Bowmer + Kirkland.

In November 2021 at the 15th annual North West Regional Construction Awards, Uclan Student Centre and University Square won the ‘Lancashire Sub-Regional Project of the Year Award’, and “The judges particularly liked the use of materials that reduced embodied carbon whilst still fully meeting client brief.”

Quoting Bonnie website: “All A Line Can Be, references Preston’s textile history and UCLan’s textile education, and builds on the existing use of ‘threads’ in the building design. It comprises linear designs based on the positions of the woven threads in different types of cloth, using these lines to form abstract compositions on the glass that play with the regularity and irregularity of the different lines, creating movement, rhythm and visual interest”. More detail on All A Line Can Be can be seen on Bonnie’s webpage here.

Categories: Public Art

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