A refreshing conversion and refurbishment of the Lancaster Environment Centre (LEC) external covered courtyard.
The atrium project emerged as a joint collaboration between the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) and the Lancaster Environment Centre. The LEC building is home to a community of high-achieving students, world-class environmental researchers, government scientists and enterprises working together to address today’s biggest environmental challenges. Because of this, it was important when considering design features within the project scope, that the look and feel of the refurbished space reflected the people that use it.
Tasked with creating a vibrant new space within the parameters of the existing building and external covered courtyard, the LEC Atrium now offers a space for students, researchers and staff alike to meet and relax in a dynamic shared space. The design of the atrium provides a functional, usable space which encourages collaborative working and learning.
Large areas of the atrium space can be reconfigured by relocating mobile planters and loose furniture to create areas for; open day events, presentation board sessions and guest speaker events. In the ‘Day to Day’ configuration, the arrangement of furniture and planting creates alcoves and ‘room scale’ settings within the larger atrium space. The atrium is filled with a wide variety of plant species, including a 250-year-old olive tree, which provide an education and learning resource integrated with the day to day uses of the space.
Sustainable design features are incorporated throughout the space that subtly acknowledge the work of the LEC department, including; a glazed roof, designed to capture daylight and distribute it evenly across the atrium. Water-based earthborn Clay paint, a paint that is virtually VOC free and carries the EU Ecolabel. 100% recyclable flooring laid throughout, fabric coverings made from 100% recycled materials. A high-tech ventilation system that will maintain an even temperature all year round.