Client: University of Huddersfield
Location: Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
OOBE were invited to put forward proposals to re-design the central plaza to the University of Huddersfield’s Queensgate campus following our involvement in the development of the adjacent new AHR designed Oastler Building.
Previously an uninspiring space, the plaza was predominately a hard space where pedestrians and traffic competed, seating was located in the shade and there was no focus, features of interest or reason to dwell.
Now known as University Square, OOBE’s proposals revitalise the space, celebrating its role as the central external hub within the campus and creating a destination. Planning permission was achieved in Jan 2016 and the proposals were commended on the flexibility of the space and its potential to develop into a lively multi-functional Square. The scheme includes a series of bespoke granite podia, planting beds containing elegant perennials, columnar trees and a feature cherry tree as well as incorporating existing seating relocated to take advantage of the suns path.
We had some constraints to work with – multiple desire lines across a space which was predominately used for movement; from pedestrians accessing the buildings around the space and beyond, to vehicles moving through to reach other areas of the campus. Our collective vision was to introduce some segregation and give people reasons to gather and use the space. We identified key links for pedestrians and vehicles within the space and beyond which informed the spatial layout. The result - a high quality, pedestrian priority Square which will provide the University with a multi-functional space that will enhance the student and visitor experience.
Being at the heart of an active campus, the project will be phased to limit disruption to the university, but the new plaza will be complete in time for the June 2016 Open Days.