Sibson Building - University of Kent

Sibson Building – University of Kent

Canterbury, United Kingdom

The new building for University of Kent’s Business School and School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science is located towards the northern edge of the Canterbury campus. The £26m facility creates a vibrant new campus destination and allows two of the University’s most successful departments to expand and improve their current activities.

The hub of teaching, learning and working brings academics, students, researchers and administrative staff together, creating an environment that actively fosters engagement between the students and staff bodies within the two schools. Lecture theatres, seminar spaces, Bloomberg suite, café and social learning spaces are organised on ground and first floor around a dramatic top lit concourse.

The schools’ individual receptions and admin areas link directly to upper floors that provide workspaces for academics and post graduate researchers. All spaces enjoy views out into the surrounding woodland. Flexible floorplates to the upper floors allow the two schools to expand or contract depending on need.

Set within a woodland, the building is never fully visible from any viewpoint, which lessens overall visual impact and preserves the majority of the trees. At lower floors, viewed between tree trunks, the elevations are highly glazed and welcoming with a café that opens out onto a south facing terrace. At upper floors, seen through tree canopies, elevations of anodised aluminium curtain walling pick up on the tree trunks and dappled light of the surrounding woodland. Vertical fins create deep window reveals to control solar gain while their stagger and colouring approximate the non-linear systems of nature.

Designed to achieve BREEAM Excellent, the building features a series of interventions that integrate it into the campus and the ecology. New cycle and pedestrian pathways and green roofs, for example, help increase biodiversity. Passive measures of natural ventilation with thermal mass and night time cooling are prioritised over active measures. Extensive roof mounted photovoltaic panels provide in excess of 10% renewable energy.

Project Team

Ian Goodfellow