University Centre

The new building is a library and study centre and it forms the new main campus entrance to Farnborough College of Technology. The brief called for a striking building that would enhance the visibility of the College, creating a more immediate link between the academic College and the immediate community around it.

The design concept exploits the diagonal route from the main direction of approach in the corner of the site, through to the start of the existing pedestrian spine. This is dramatised by dividing the building into two opposing ‘slices of cake’, with the roof-lit diagonal route mediating between them.

A dramatic ‘prow’ extends towards the approach route from the north, guiding the eye towards the main entrances and protecting a paved entrance plaza. A similar, smaller prow on the south side protects an outdoor seating area next to the café. The building is clad in very pale textured brickwork, with vertical dark fins establishing a rhythm along the long east and west elevations.

Nicholas Hare Architects embraced our vision for the building and worked with endless enthusiasm to give us the building we had asked for.
Marion Shepherd, Farnborough College of Technology


The main structure is formed of steel columns and beams, with visible cross-laminated timber (CLT) forming the first floor and roof. Timber cassette panels were used to form the external walls. The CLT and cassettes offered a fast, clean and green method of construction.

Both the steel frame and CLT slabs are left exposed within the finished building, for economy and delight - the timber bringing warmth to the interiors.

Our Team

  • Joanna Day
  • Nicholas Hare
  • Beatriz Martin de Alcaraz
  • Chris Mason
  • Juliette Sacher
  • James Taylor
  • Sandra Toledano

Project Team

  • Client: Farnborough College of Technology
  • Project Management: MEA
  • Structural Engineer: Peter Brett Associates
  • Services Engineer: Full Electrical Services
  • Landscape Architect: Colour Urban Design
  • Planning Consultant: Pegasus Group
  • Contractor: Mace
  • Photographer: Alan Williams


  • Regional Finalist: Civic Trust Awards
  • Commended: SPACES Awards
  • Shortlisted: Structural Timber Awards
  • Shortlisted: RICS Awards - Design Through Innovation
  • Shortlisted: RICS Awards - Community Benefit