University technical college designed by Pick Everard is first for south west

Designed by Pick Everard, the new £6million Bristol Technology & Engineering Academy (BTE Academy), the first university technical college (UTC) in the south west, has opened its doors for the autumn term.

Sponsored by GKN Aerospace, Airbus, City of Bristol College, the University of the West of England and supported by Rolls Royce, the Academy’s specialist approach aims to address the shortage of engineering and science skills in the West of England. By offering them an engaging curriculum the UTC aims to motivate many more 14-19 year old students to follow science, environmental technology and engineering pathways. Designed for 460 students, the Academy’s focus on engineering and environmental technology will play an important part in Bristol’s ambition to be a leading low carbon city in Europe.

Following Pick Everard’s appointment to design and deliver the new and adjacent advanced engineering centre (AEC) building for City of Bristol College, the practice was appointed in negotiation with the BTE Academy as architect for the new UTC building employed by Willmott Dixon under the Scape framework agreement. Using Scape enabled procurement to proceed far more quickly than anticipated, bringing the project start forward by three to four months.

The scheme involved redeveloping a brownfield site at Stoke Gifford, previously the old Filton High School which was demolished and relocated further north as Abbeywood Community School.

Pick Everard’s architectural design of the UTC includes large workshop areas for project work, smaller classrooms, laboratory areas, a learning resource centre and computer suites, with kitchen and dining areas all positioned around an activity hall at the centre on three levels. Outdoors there is a large multi-use play area and parkland for ecological studies. The architectural form uses brick, rendered and glass curtain walls in a playful yet rational combination in the style of adjacent office and school buildings and in the context of surrounding residential areas. 200 square metres of photovoltaic panelling boost the energy efficiency of the building and high scoring BRE Green Guide materials on elevations provide visual interest.

Brian Cooper, BTE Academy comments:

“Pick Everard took our original idea and turned it into a building which not only meets the Academy’s needs but demonstrates quality that is required to make it stand out from other academies. The Pick Everard team kept us fully informed at all stages of the design and welcomed our input. A true partnership approach.”

For the adjacent multi-million-pound AEC, Pick Everard was appointed through the Government Procurement Service framework, enabling City of Bristol College to significantly upgrade accommodation and reduce its running costs by bringing together automotive, aeronautical, manufacturing and general engineering courses on one location.

Pick Everard Partner Rod Burton said:

“We are delighted to see these two buildings completed and to have been involved in the delivery of outstanding new facilities for students in the south west.”

Pick Everard has renowned expertise in educational design and an award-winning project history. The practice is currently working on primary, secondary, further and higher education projects across the UK including 27 schools in an expansion and development programme for the London Borough of Hounslow, the £5million Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form in Norwich and the new Fletcher building at De Montfort University in Leicester.