£40 million Cornwall campus design unveiled

The first drawings of the £40 million main campus building for the Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC) project are unveiled today, and reveal a landscaped roof as part of its striking design.

The 20,000 sq metre development is a major element of the c£96 million CUC project and has been uniquely designed to reflect the contours and features of the sloping site at Tremough, near Falmouth.

The CUC, which is being constructed in two phases and features a ‘Hub’ campus at Tremough complemented by several satellite ‘Rim’ sites across Cornwall, will lead to a huge increase in Higher Education provision in Cornwall. It is also the largest project being funded through Cornwall’s Objective One European funding programme.

Unique in the UK, the project is a collaboration between Falmouth College of Arts, the University of Exeter, the University of Plymouth, the Open University, the College of St Mark and St John, Cornwall College, Truro College and Penwith College.

The new campus building is part of phase one of the CUC’s development. Running downhill from west to east, the western roof will be directly level with the ground, rising to a height of four storeys in the east as the land falls away below, enhancing the profile of the Tremough landscape.

But the defining feature will be its roof, arranged as a series of fully accessible landscaped terraces stepped down the side of the hill and planted with local species, along with grasses and shrubs.

Falmouth College of Arts’ Principal, and chairman of the Combined Universities in Cornwall Executive, Professor Alan Livingston, said: “These exciting architectural designs for the new Design Centre for Falmouth College of Arts, along with the teaching and research accommodation for the University of Exeter, display
exceptional originality.

“They complement Tremough’s historic landscape, yet are appropriate for the nurturing of innovative practice and research. We look forward to attracting a new generation of students to these world-class facilities and to contributing further to the prosperity of the locality and the county. This new development scheme confirms that the Combined Universities in Cornwall initiative has become a reality.”

Professor John Inkson, who is leading the Exeter part of the CUC project, said: “One of Exeter University’s biggest strengths is the quality of its living and learning environment. We are delighted that this is also the case at Tremough, which is a wonderful campus with a growing number of fine buildings.

“These buildings are landmark designs which reflect the importance of the project to Cornwall's economy. We are very much looking forward to moving our Cornwall operations to Tremough in 2004 and we are already adding to them with a range of new degree programmes.”

Jonathan Adams, project director at the Percy Thomas Partnership, the architects who designed the new campus, said: “We wanted to design a unique campus to reflect the unique nature of the CUC while complementing the historic setting of Tremough.

“It is designed to be a varied and engaging place to teach, to study or to visit, and marks a radical departure in the design of university campuses.”

The building features two arcs of development, centred on a courtyard. The western arc, going uphill, will house a new Design Centre for Falmouth College of Arts – complementing its state-of-the-art media Centre officially opened by The Duke of Edinburgh earlier this month – and various academic departments for the University of Exeter including Camborne School of Mines, the Institute of Cornish Studies and the Department of Lifelong Learning, plus a range of new courses.

The eastern arc, which will have rooftop views to the sea, comprises much of the new student amenity space and will be shared by all occupants of the site.

The development in detail includes:

  • Central courtyard, designed to be the geographical and active centre of the campus
  • Covered courtyard, designed to be the social centre of the campus
  • The Design Centre for Falmouth College of Arts, which follows a series of stepped terraces, with open-plan studios and workshops, seminar and reception areas
  • An area running the length of the building to house science laboratories linked to the University of Exeter, plus academic offices and common rooms
  • Learning resource centre, including a 24-hour library and academic media facilities
  • Multi-use lecture and seminar room complex with removable partitions
  • Student amenities, restaurant, bar and entertainment facilities
  • The historic Tremough manor house will be refurbished as office accommodation
  • The existing chapel will be retained as a lecture theatre and the adjacent annex converted into small shops

    The circulation routes between buildings will provide easy access, ample shelter and plenty of opportunities for social interaction. The steps, for example, have shallow gradients where people can sit.

    The new development will also incorporate some of the existing buildings on site, including the swimming pool and the granite walls of the former stable block. The walls of the new buildings will make use of local materials, including granite that is excavated from the site and locally grown timber for cladding.

    Bill Bawden, director of the Objective One programme, which has earmarked £25 million towards the building costs, said: “The CUC will lead to a step change in the provision of Higher Education in Cornwall while forging strong links with industry through research and development. It’s appropriate that its main campus building should reflect those aspirations in the boldness of its design.”

    Stephen Bohane, Cornwall Head of Operations for the South West Regional Development Agency, which is committing almost £11 million to the Tremough campus, said: “This is another example of Cornwall leading the way with the very latest in cutting edge design and sustainability. The long-term impact of the CUC on Cornwall’s economy should not be underestimated, and this building is a powerful statement of its intention to be a world-class facility.”

    Work on the new campus is expected to begin in July after the formal appointment of a contractor, with the first buildings completed by September of next year and the remainder by September of 2004.


  • Editors notes:


    Illustrations of the new building are attached, and are available in JPEG format from Deborah Clark & Associates on 01872 276276; email dclark@dclark.co.uk

    What is the Combined Universities in Cornwall initiative?

    The Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC) initiative exists to expand Higher Education opportunities in Cornwall and to further develop research and work with business and the community in order to contribute to the social and economic regeneration of Cornwall.

    ‘Hub’ and ‘Rim’ model

    The CUC is a unique model in the UK for delivering Higher Education (HE), using a central ‘Hub’ campus and a number of satellite sites around the ‘Rim’. The Hub, at Tremough, is linked to Cornwall’s Further Education colleges across the county, where a substantial investment programme has already started to enable a huge expansion in HE provision.


    Funding is coming through Cornwall’s Objective One European funding programme, the South West Regional Development Agency, the Higher Education Funding Council (England) and Cornwall County Council.

    The total investment in the CUC will be £96.3 million, of which £69.4 million is for the Hub and £26.9 million for the Rim. The investment programme spans several years and is divided into two phases.

    Some £42.6 million will be spent on construction work during phase one of the Hub, of which £24.7 million will come from Objective One. The South West Regional Development Agency has committed £10.8 million; £5.6 million is from the Higher Education Funding Council for England and £1.5 million has come from various charitable trusts.

    At the Rim, £16 million is being invested during phase one across a number of different sites spread throughout Cornwall.

    Economic impact

    The CUC is expected to create 1,000 new jobs, 4,000 additional student places and contribute £32 million to the Cornish economy each year by 2010. It will also promote the development of Cornwall’s knowledge economy, which is seen as crucial to achieving sustainable economic development in the county.

    For further information please contact:

    Jason Clark
    Deborah Clark & Associates
    01872 276276
    07980 834368

    Jason Clark
    Communications Manager
    Objective One Partnership Office
    Castle House
    Pydar Street
    Truro TR1 2UD
    Tel:01872 241379
    Fax:01872 241388