The new building has been designed with collaboration at its centre providing a welcoming and engaging environment for students studying in a range of sectors, from engineering to the creative arts such as manufacturing, app design, communications, digital design / media and many more.
At the heart of the building sits a multi-height space connected by a contemporary stair design linking all floors for ease of use. Six large rooflights flood the main space with natural light. Translucent poly-carbonate panels on the south façade, along with large format windows to the north provide a light, spacious environment for users.
Facilities such as manufacturing and electrical testing are located at ground level, with state-of-the-art photography, sound studios and 100 seat screening suite located in an asymmetrical drum. The illuminated drum is a powerful feature of the building and is both functional and beautiful, and is visible both internally and externally. The lighting installation forms the wraparound façade of the drum.
The lighting design is the work of the award winning Michael Grubb Studio, creative lighting designers whose projects include such spectacles as the lighting display at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The studio delivers innovative designs which address how we perceive and interact with buildings.
This significant use of lighting is particularly relevant on the High Tech & Digital Centre as photonics – the science of light, which includes fibre optics, lasers, LED technology – is a growth sector in the region and one which the curriculum supports.
The installation has been designed to be extremely energy efficient, with power provided by 130 photovoltaic panels on the roof. These produce 120% of the energy needed by the Centre and are just one of the factors which contributed to both a BREEAM Excellent and an EPC A rating. LED and lensing technology have been employed to provide the highest performance and lowest energy consumption. Lights are manufactured from largely recyclable or reusable materials, and operate between dusk and 10pm, ensuring there’s no wasted energy outside of the College’s opening hours and minimising light pollution
The Centre also boasts sixteen start-up units in the South Devon College Business Hub, with informal meeting spaces and collaboration zones. These are designed to encourage collaboration between staff, students and businesses alike, exchanging knowledge and offering students a route to progress from education to the market place.
Built by Midas Construction and designed by LHC Design, who were responsible for the architecture, interiors and landscape design, the Centre welcomed its first cohort of students in September 2019.