Extended Reality Lab ( XR Lab )
“The XR Lab is a catalyst for ground breaking ideas, a place to bring students and industry together to explore new ways of working, teaching and learning”
Richard Stevenson, Group Operations Director
Eastern Colleges Group approached WindsorPatania to design and deliver the Extended Reality Lab (XR Lab), an innovative educational space comprising four areas: an Immersion Lab, a Collaboration Theatre, a Green Room, and a Conference Room. The project has the ambition of creating a state of the art educational facility that incorporates AI, Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality technologies for next-generation teaching and learning in the East of England.
“This is an incredibly exciting time for us as educators, for the businesses using this facility, and for the talent the businesses can recruit. We are looking to be the leading institution for extended reality education and talent development for industries across post-16 education within the UK. This ambitious project gives our students an exceptional skill set and offers businesses unique opportunities in training, talent management and collaboration."
Dr Nikos Savvas, Chief Executive of the Eastern Colleges Group
Hangar 02’s external appearance has undergone a remarkable transformation and is now a significant component of the overall project. Prior to the retrofitting, the building presented an outdated, light grey finish, and a large opening blocked by a roller shutter. Through extensive renovation efforts, the roller shutter was removed and replaced with a curtain wall to enhance the ingress of natural light into the hangar.
Pod-Shaped Design for Energy Efficiency
The XR Lab finds its home in Hangar 2, one of the 5 Hangars of the 7200 m2 STEM complex. This space was formerly used as a workshop by the students of engineering. To foster energy saving measures and to minimize the deployment of construction material, a pod-shaped design was chosen over utilizing the entire hangar space. The main benefit derived from the ability to contain thermal insulation solely to the size of the pod, which was in this way considered to be the primary thermal envelope, thus avoiding to thermally insulate and to thermally regulate the entire hangar.
The XR Lab is built with a steel structure that incorporates thermal and acoustic insulation. The exterior is finished with a high-spec polished plaster, resulting in an enigmatic sci-fi presence. This unique appearance is further enhanced by a 3D triangular mesh that creates a visual connection with virtual environments, resulting in a captivating and futuristic design that complements the cutting-edge technology inside the XR Lab.
The area surrounding the XR Lab boasts a versatile space, serving as a dynamic hub for students. Not only does it function as an exhibitions gallery, but it also provides ample space for social interactions and serves as a breakout area for students. The glass walls and open doors of the pod provide a window into the activities occurring inside, promoting social interaction and collaboration opportunities. Events catered to varying age groups further enhance the space’s versatility, providing unique experiences for all. This dynamic environment fosters teamwork and social interaction, making it a vibrant and essential component of the STEM complex.
Project Manager: Fusion
Building Team: Coulson Construction
Structural Engineer: Gawn Associates
M&E Engineer: G&G Design Services
ACP Facade Services