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Delivering High Quality, Sustainable University Campuses

16 May 2024
Sheikh Zayed Theatre

Eight Steps to Sustainable Campuses
Lucy Townsend and Michael Riley, BDP

Robust and considered planning strategies are presenting opportunities for the rapid development of the UK’s education campuses. For estates managers, this also provides the chance to deliver on the sustainability aspirations of the organisations by delivering efficient design, sustainable operations, and climate resilient places. BDP’s eight-step design approach considers how to decarbonise university estates and make them healthier, sustainable, and more natural; for students, staff and the local community to enjoy.

  1. Energy and Carbon
  2. Materials and Waste
  3. Water
  4. Biodiversity and Green Infrastructure
  5. Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience
  6. Wellbeing
  7. Certification
  8. Performance

Even at the University of Warwick, where, as part of a major masterplan, new research spaces, science labs and classrooms are putting science on display, sustainability is crucial to the design. The plans which are led by the University’s sustainability aspirations will see the creation of a new, low carbon campus, including a new university green - a high-quality public amenity space at the heart of the precinct. But science and technology buildings that include laboratories and research areas are notoriously carbon-hungry, so how can a low-carbon design on a STEM campus be implemented effectively?

In this presentation, Lucy Townsend, head of sustainability at BDP and Michael Riley, architect director at BDP will explain the eight-step process and use the case studies of ongoing projects at the University of Warwick STEM cluster and at LSE’s own 35 Lincoln’s Inn Fields as exemplars for sustainable design in the sector.

Stephen Taylor Court for King’s College Cambridge
Hugo Marrack, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and Polly Ingham, King’s College

A case study presentation that will take a technical view of the recently completed Stephen Taylor Court graduate community for King’s College Cambridge.

Providing 84 comfortable homes for graduates, fellows and their families, Stephen Taylor Court is set within generous gardens and communal areas in a quiet suburb of Cambridge. As part of the King's College Cambridge estate, the homes needed to be enduring, complementing the Conservation Area setting, and long life. We designed to Passivhaus standards for operational excellence, with lean design principles that would reach net zero for embodied carbon. Aspiring to a 100-year design life, we used high-quality materials. The structure is cross-laminated timber, the façade is soft waterstruck gault clay bricks, and handmade plain roof tiles emanate a sense of permanence. These buildings are designed to last.

The presentation will walk through the differences between designing for 60 years and 100 years, and looking in particular at detailing and renewal cycles; planning for repairs, within the framework of designing a Passivhaus scheme.


Trevor Wills, Director of Estates & Facilities - University of Plymouth
Lucy Townsend, Head of sustainability - BDP
Michael Riley, Architect Technical Director - BDP
Hugo Marrack, Partner - Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
Polly Ingham, Domus Bursar - King's College



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