Nottingham College exhibits 'truly iconic' £58m City Hub

This post first appeared on Nottingham Post. Read the original article.

Members of the public were given the chance to have their say on plans for Nottingham’s newest six-storey college building.

Visitors to Nottingham Contemporary got to see what the Nottingham College's City Hub in Canal Street will look like, including a scale model of where it will stand once completed.

The Hub will provide high-quality learning facilities and a space for businesses to engage directly with the Nottingham College’s students.

Chief executive officer at Nottingham College, John van de Laarschot, told the Post: “The college has been working with its students and staff, alongside its team of architects, to create a campus that represents something truly iconic and that reflects the changing face of Further Education.

“The college has liaised closely with the council and with stakeholders locally to take every measure to preserve the heritage assets of the site.

“We’re confident that the scheme delivers not just for our students, who deserve a first class learning environment, but which delivers for our wider community.”

Paul Abel, a representative for Pedals, a Nottingham cycling campaign, agreed that the development was positive.

The 58-year-old, said: "I was very pleased to hear the site for the college was being relocated.

"That gives the city council an opportunity to really enhance the view on the approach to the castle which is blighted by the 1960s building of one of the current college buldings.”

The building’s size and design have drawn some criticism.

Mr Abel added that he is “not particularly inspired by the design”.

He said: “I would have expected something of a higher quality. It’s certainly a bit blocky but I don’t think it’s got enough character.

“It’s too ordinary – there are far too many buildings of a similar nature.

The Hub Model at the Contemporary

The Hub Model at the Contemporary

“I know that in an equivalent city in America they would have had design competitions and there would be something which would be really outstanding produced.

“But it’s not particularly offensive either.”

The building’s lead architect and Nottingham local, Matt Hutton, explained that the building is designed to cater for “not just learning”, but small or medium sizes businesses and entrepreneurs.

The wider community will be able to take advantage of the new performance spaces and green area outside the development.

He said:“It’s a building about the context and the history of the site. We want to reflect something within the new build that reflects the history.

“I love Nottingham, and the lace industry is something that is very important in its history.

“The bricks that were there originally - we wanted to replicate that as well. We’ve tried to do something tonally that sits with the context.”

In response to concerns about the building damaging the skyline, Mr Hutton said:

“We’ve done as much as we can with admittedly a big building, to protect the key views from the city. The view from the station and Trent Street are really important, so we’ve tried to retain as much as we can of them.

Elliot Squire and Maria Skewes, interns at Blueprint, both agreed that the design was a “vast improvement from what was there before.”

Mr Squire added: “I walk past it every day on my way to work so I’m glad it will soon look a lot better.”

However, many people commented on the lack of obvious links between the College Hub and its surrounding areas.

Interim director of estates and capital projects, Matthew Varley, explained that the college want to add a tram stop outside the new building.

“The council have said no so far, but we are working on getting a new stop in future.

“These things take time to sort out but hopefully we will get there.”