The Digi-Tech Factory for Norwich City College is a teaching and learning space that feels more like a professional environment than a classroom. It positions digital technologies as a contemporary industry in East England and Norwich City College as a leader in the field.
Our work on the new multi-million-pound digital technology hub includes a three-storey building with a sawtooth roofline, wrapped in a perforated screen façade. It has a large entry canopy and covered plaza. A vast central atrium offers more than a circulation corridor, with versatile working and socialising spaces. The thoughtful designs shift from the standard school-like environment, offering a creative industry atmosphere to energise students and prepare them for future employment.
The Digi-Tech Factory, which is a collaboration with local architect James Lee Burgess, will house Norwich City College’s full- and part-time technology, engineering and design courses in one building. Its presence will add to the already thriving digital tech sector in Norfolk and Suffolk by supporting the teaching and research of nearly 500 students, providing experience opportunities to over 100 apprentices and creating new jobs on campus.
PARTS ON SHOW
An important part of the building's overall narrative, the physical relationship with digital technology begins before stepping inside the Digi-Tech Factory. Students, staff and visitors can understand how the building works through its industrial shape, exposed steel work and visible mechanics. This is a physical expression of a ‘part to whole’ relationship which is a fundamental line of thought in computational disciplines and coding.
EXTENDING THE ENVELOPE
The perforated envelope extends to screen an external student plaza, improving physical and visual connections between campus and landscape. This also brings a tactile relationship with the building and its components. The screen provides additional environmental control whilst perforations maintain views in and out of learning spaces and varied effects of depth and shadow across the façade as the light changes throughout the day.
PUTTING RESEARCH INTO PRACTICE
Our studio research around light and materiality underpins the design for a sustainable and lucent learning environment.