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MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY, HENDON, LONDON


ABOVE The building and (cantilever) under construction


put them together and they could learn from each other and find unexpected ways to collaborate.


The other idea was that people learn through practice and as advised by tutors rather than from listening only. So while subjects like fine art and dance require large spaces, in the Ritterman building, the computing, science and robotics laborato- ries are open-plan, designed so teachers can walk between students and advise them on their work.


Adapting the site


There was really only one space where the Ritterman could go, which was originally occupied by a steep grassy bank giving onto a largely disused extremity of the campus. Levelled, the site now houses a striking building, predominately in glass and shades of green tiles, inhabited by science, technol- ogy, interior architecture, fine art and dance students, along with innovations such as a machine that makes ceramic objects based on the frequency with which Tweets about the University are detected on the internet, and a robot called Baxter that can interact with humans. Outside, the Ritterman is a large open


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First floor beams have been structurally over-sized to allow potential future creation of double-height spaces


space adjacent to its cafe, which can be used to erect art installations on plinths or simply as an open air social space outside the adjacent students’ union building when weather permits.


As building work began, a retaining sheet pile wall was installed to the eastern end of the building to accommodate the bank of earth and the base had to be sealed with a gas-proof membrane due to the presence of the naturally occurring gas radon. The bank was demolished then backfilled after which a ground-bearing concrete slab with pile foundations was installed. Above that came a concrete frame building which was poured in-situ. Inside, the stairs are precast concrete units.


The concrete structure is based on a grid layout of columns and beams, so the interior can be divided as needed into


ADF JUNE 2017


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