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

Landscape Architects: Plincke

Testbed Compound & Decking Contractor: Ashton Joinery & Building Services

Testbed Container Manufacturer: Universal Containers
Site Programme: 3 months
Service: Public Art Sub-Consultant
Project Status: On Site, September – December 2018


Commissioned by University of Central Lancashire (UClan) to work as a sub-consultant under lead architects Hawkins\Brown, since 2017, Atoll have been developing an integrated public art strategy linked to the £60m Student Centre and University Square being built in Preston as part of the UCLan Masterplan. Commissioned following their RIBA competition winning entry, Hawkins\Brown have confirmed their new building “…will feel like a student space rather than a departmental space. This sense of student ‘ownership’ will help to facilitate social interaction, collaboration and learning. Spaces have been designed to offer variety, from vibrant social spaces to quiet study areas…..The design has been influenced by the history of Preston’s textile industry, but more importantly its future, in aerospace and electronics. This is expressed in the idea of filaments, circuit routes, or threads – an analogy that also relates to the path that a student takes through life and learning at University”.

As an initial installation built pre-construction, a temporary shipping container artist studio called the ‘Testbed‘ was conceived and installed, “…exploring how people will use the new University Square which will soon be built in Preston, through events, engagements and artworks”. The pop-up shipping container conversion and compound was designed by Atoll for installation on site from September to December 2018 to enage both students and local community via an insitu artist residency and other events and installations. Housed within this for 3 months was artist-designer David Boultbee of BREAD Arts, working with project assistance and facilitation from artist Ben Rutherford . Further artistic detail was added via a temporary roof structure designed and installed insitu by architect Lee Ivett of Baxendale Studio and Architecture BSc Course Leader at UCLan. Images, videos and more detailed information can be seen on the Blog, Instagram, Google Photo and Twitter account, all accessible from the Tesbed blog here and on UCLan’s In Certain Places website.

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Categories: Architecture, Public Art

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