Before the Hub was completed, student support functions at Coventry University were dispersed across the campus. The existing Union buildings were inadequate and unpopular with students and in urgent need of rationalization and replacement. Student welfare and advisory services were also fragmented across the campus, and there was poor catering provision.

The new Hub building provides a “student home”; a good quality building that has become the heart of the campus and a stimulating focus for the 12,000 undergraduate student body. It enhances the student experience and contributes to recruitment and staff retention across all faculties. The building provides a one-stop shop for students’ wellness and well-being by responding to students’ three key needs:

  • Providing a place to visit during the day for social and informal learning needs and during the evening a venue for safe entertainment;
  • Providing a place for students’ faith, health and wellness;
  • Providing a place for students to access employment opportunities.

As part of the building’s sustainability, it has full rainwater harvesting and recycling, cooling by ground-source heat pump and PV panels producing electricity.

The Challenges

The project presented many challenges, not least the large number of Stakeholders / Departments that occupy the building. Satisfactorily managing and balancing their broad and varied needs within the context of the University’s brief, key external stakeholders and the Masterplan was critical to the project’s success. In addition, the project had to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating.

Besides the multiple stakeholders, other challenges included: demolition of existing buildings, the presence of archaeology and WWII ordinance, the need to upgrade infrastructure and to incorporate the landscape design with the Council’s vision for improving the Public Realm for the 2012 London Olympics.

As well as the challenges of working next to an art gallery, a major University building immediately adjacent has significant structural deficiencies. A strict monitoring regime was implemented to ensure demolition and construction work did not affect its ongoing stability.

The completed building contains a supermarket, hairdresser, bars, food court, a night club / venue, GP surgery, multifaith rooms, offices for the Students Union and Employability and the latest thinking in formal and informal learning spaces.

Despite all of these challenges the building was delivered for the start of the 2011/12 academic year and £6m below the Stage C cost plan.