The Smart Innovation Hub at Keele University has recently completed creating a flagship building and a gateway for its campus.
The building is the first to complete as part of our wider masterplan, and it brings together Keele Management School (KMS) and business incubator spaces IC6, encouraging collaboration between the university and community.
The design approach was to create a simple object, which is compact in form, visible from all sides. It makes use of the natural topography of the site, which allows for an upper and lower ground floor. On the lower ground floor, there are innovation spaces, a tiered lecture theatre with a capacity of over 200 and an atrium space which contains a business lounge, social learning and the café space.
The main entrance is on the upper ground floor where visitors can look down into the business lounge from any point around the gallery which connects all of the incubator pods. There are open plan offices and larger co-working incubator pods on the first floor, plus flexible floor plates that can adapt into single or open plan offices.
Externally, Staffordshire blue brick references the local vernacular including other buildings on the campus; the Home Farm sustainability hub and the university's chapel. This further represents the building’s connection to the campus and wider community, with the effort to boost engagement and collaboration.