Kent School of Architecture Foyer, Canterbury


Original foyer, 2010.


This project began as a brief set by the University of Kent to look at ways of enhancing the area of campus in and around the Marlowe Building built 1964, home to the schools of Architecture and Anthropology. The proposal saw the opportunity to open out and connect with the Universities wider community, recognising the potential of the schools prominent position on campus.


A formerly dark, underused and uninspiring space (197m2) was transformed to feature a contemporary, bright cafe featuring new kitchen servery, seating; exhibition and learning space.

Introducing full-height sliding doors (in a gold anodised finish) set back behind the existing concrete structure allowed more light into the space and created a colonnade distinguishing the buildings public areas. Permeability and access was improved by replacing an entrance step with a shallow brick paved slope extending the full width of the foyer. During times of good weather the sliding doors are opened, encouraging passersby to access the foyer space and cafe.

Other features of the design included: an acoustic ceiling of slatted Birch veneer returned down to form a display wall featuring brightly coloured niches with LED down-lights for showcasing architectural and anthropological works. The display integrated a touch screen presentation board for informal teaching and learning.

The ceiling featured an integrated projection system with an automatic retracting screen as well as high specification LED energy efficient lighting recessed between the ceiling slats, which adjust automatically depending on the lux levels and brightness from outside.

Bespoke plywood benches and tables were designed which, when turned on end or side, could be used as display boards with tables incorporating coloured steel strips for non-drawing-damaging magnet ‘pin up’.

The project received HEDQF/ RIBA’s “Small budget Big impact” Award. Project was in collaboration with: Creative Campus, MELD Architecture, Kent School of Architecture, University of Kent Estates Department.