Eastern Gateway Building
Introduction / summary
Previously called the Music Media Arts and Digital Creativity (Building), this project has been re-named the “Eastern Gateway Building“.
Eastern Gateway Building is one of a number of development and environmental enhancements projects located in the north east part of the main campus.
Royal Holloway’s Music and Media Arts departments are international leaders in their sectors; as such the new Eastern Gateway Building will need to accommodate state-of-the-art facilities in a new shared building, forming a new landmark to the campus entrance.
This new building will nurture, support and enhance the departments’ research, teaching capabilities and reputations. The combination of new teaching studios, practice rooms, edit suites, with additional shared facilities – such as a café and lecture theatre to be used by the whole university – will aim to create a new hub for creativity and excellence.
The proposed development site is located towards the northern edge of the main campus near the Piggery Gate entrance. The core development plot has an approximate area of 0.28 ha and currently forms part of the existing car park (Car Park 4) to the south east of the Orchard Building and the Open Space Performance Building (formerly known as the Handa Noh Theatre). The site is bound to the south by dense trees and vegetation, additional car parking provision to the east and a campus access road to the north and west.
Relevance to the Estate Plan
The Estate Plan identifies the proposed site for the Eastern Gateway Building as part of Plot B05. The schedule of development identifies this site as having the potential for a 3/4 storey building providing 9,300m2 of academic or operational floor space. The Estate Plan annotation identifies Plot B05 as a ‘landmark operational building’ with the opportunity to incorporate taller features to create a focal point for the approaching routes.
The intention of delivering academic floor space in this area has not changed, though the intention is now to split what was shown as one large building into two, with an appropriate separation distance between the two to create a high quality public realm.
A sustainable urban drainage solution is currently being investigated in order to serve the needs of this building and the immediate area. This will use and improve the storage capacity of the existing Ripley Springs pond as part of a wider Green Space and Visitor Management Strategy devised in 2015 and required by Natural England.
The new building will be ultimately served by a new multi-storey car park which is proposed to the west.
Fielden Clegg Bradley Studios are the appointed Lead Consultant and Architect for this project. Since July they have been developing a detailed design for the building and external areas. Concepts were presented at the September engagement event and comments received have been fed back to the design team. The November exhibition boards present the latest design thinking. The exhibition boards can be accessed here.
The November engagement session and consultation period offered the opportunity for interested parties to see the emerging detailed design. This is still being developed, but the images on display provide a clearer indication of the external appearance of the proposal. The November exhibition boards can be seen here. Subject to refinements as may be required, and university approval, the intention is that a reserved matters planning submission will be made to Runnymede Borough Council in March 2020. A reserved matters application presents the details of the building, the principle of which was established under the outline planning application granted by the Council in April 2015.
Planning application / reserved matters submission
The project will be progressed by means of a reserved matters submission under the 2015 outline planning permission. The Surface Water Drainage Strategy utilises the capacity of the adjacent Ripley Springs attenuation pond. The university has appointed engineering consultants to investigate the enhanced storm water capacity the result of clearing out the existing pond and undertaking repairs to the existing headwall. These works are anticipated to be completed by the opening of the Eastern Gateway Building (subject to appropriate planning approval forthcoming).
It is anticipated that a reserved matters planning application (in accordance with the outline planning permission of April 2015) will be made in March 2020.
Link with other Estate projects and plans
The Eastern Gateway Building is one of a number of development and environmental enhancement projects located in the north-east part of the main campus. A summary of the projects being progressed in the wider setting of the building is set out below.
Enterprise Building. This contemporary building will sit aside other new academic buildings around the new Piggery Gate junction, details of which were approved in 2015. The 2,900sqm building will house cyber-security and associated cutting-edge academic and research functions considered to be of national importance as technological advances lead to changes in our society. Runnymede Borough Council granted planning permission, subject to conditions, on the 31st July 2019. At present all planned construction work at Royal Holloway is currently on hold due to the outbreak of Covid-19.
Open Space Performance Building (formerly known as the Handa Noh Theatre). This modest single-storey building, and the adjacent Orchard Building, is required to be demolished to make way for the Enterprise Centre. Activities within the Orchard Building are to be temporarily relocated elsewhere across the campus. The Open Space Performance Building accommodates a sacred Japanese stage. This stage, gifted to the university in the 1990’s will be rehoused in a modular building erected to the north of the A30 in an area recently cleared of vegetation. A project team has been appointed and site investigations are underway. A detailed accommodation brief is being finalised, and designs will emerge once this is signed off.
Piggery Gate junction. The Piggery Gate junction is currently closed to traffic. Under the 2015 Estate Plan and outline planning permission, a new all movements four-arm junction was designed and granted detailed consent with the support of Surrey County Council as the Local Highway Authority.
This junction is required to be in place prior to an increase in parking spaces within the main campus south of the A30. This event will be start with the new multi-storey car park close to the Piggery Gate junction, but this is some time off.
The university wish to bring forward the works linked to the wider changes in the Piggery Gate area in respect of the Enterprise Centre and the Eastern Gateway Building. Since 2015, detailed underground site investigations have resulted in the junction shifting approximately 6m to the west: the fundamental design will remain unchanged. This refinement allows for a larger landscaped area close to the proposed Enterprise Centre and an opportunity to repair, realign and enhance the red brick wall facing Egham Hill which will celebrate the heritage of the campus while having a backdrop of modern academic buildings.
Ripley Springs environmental enhancements. This area accommodates an historic storm water reduction pond, but is currently hidden from view and is overgrown. The intention, in line with the Green Space and Visitor Management Plan, developed by the university in Feb 2015 in response to Natural England requirements, is to open up the area, increase the capacity and function of the pond as part of a sustainable urban drainage strategy and start to open up the area to visitors through the provision of new pedestrian routes. The pond will be visible from the Eastern Gateway Building, which will also help to provide the start of the pedestrian routes through this area.
Ongoing investigations by the university, and discussions in relation to the scope of works linked to the Eastern Gateway Building immediately to the north, have resulted in the drainage (engineering) works being incorporated within the building design. The university is progressing with initial investigations relating to the environmental (landscape and ecological) enhancements and opening the area to visitors in a manner which does not prejudice the ability to bring forward storm water attenuation proposals in due course.