A new space for collaborative learning and research at the University of Bath

The School of Management is a flagship building for the university. It is a space that brings together the Faculty community and sets a new standard for technology that we will use in the future.

- Rob Hyde, Service Manager (Audio-Visual), University of Bath

The School of Management at the University of Bath has a new home. The seven-storey, 5215m2,  building is designed to foster collaboration among students, academics and employers and bring the entire School of Management community together in one place.

The building embeds the latest technology into learning, research and social environments to create a centralised hub for teaching and research and a platform for forming links to industry and employers.

The key themes woven into the building design are flexibility, transparency and collaboration. Pure AV worked with the University’s AV team to design and deliver audio visual facilities to support those principles. The focus was on creating a consistent and straightforward user experience, easy room management and, as a result, establishing a set of standards for future developments.

At the centre of the building is a large open area for collaboration and socialising. It is a double height space flooded with natural light, and designed to bring people together. Digital signage is positioned around the area and informs students and visitors of the latest campus news and activity. 

Digital Signage at the University of Bath

The image clarity and brightness of the large format LG displays provide a vibrant canvas for communication, while OneLan digital signage paired with Tripleplay IPTV is used as the content delivery mechanism.

The formal learning spaces include a 250-seat auditorium, a Case Teaching Room and seven additional lecture theatres offering a mix of flat, tiered and flexible seating arrangements. 

There are 25 meeting rooms fully enabled for remote conferencing. A PC teaching lab, behavioural lab and entrepreneurship lab create space for specialised learning activities, while a reception area with an impressive 3.5 metre wide LG LED wall greets visitors and sets the tone for the rest of the building.

LED video wall at the University of Bath

A new home for conferences

The auditorium, which seats 250 people, is the largest of the formal learning spaces. It provides a high-quality space for large group learning as well as a new conference venue on campus. Three NEC laser projectors offer a choice of dual screen, or single screen display. Cameras and audio are in place for lecture capture and to enable remote or hybrid participation over Microsoft Teams.

Two custom TeamMate lecterns help to facilitate the switch between usage models. A 4.25m Educator Desk provides easy access to the full suite of AV tools required to support modern large group learning, while a more compact podium is available for events. Crestron NVX AV over IP is deployed to simplify the AV management within the space. By reducing all input sources to a routable AV stream, the connection to the lectern is streamlined, allowing the facilities team to reduce room turnaround time and switch between event and teaching uses quickly.

The use of networked audio ensures that flexibility is also carried through to the audio system. The Sennheiser microphones and audio inputs are routed into the mixer and DSP via a Dante network, giving the University greater control over audio configuration and how the space can be used.

Auditorium AV solution at the University of Bath
The lecture theatres are just a different level and offer that real-life collaborative teaching experience.

- Rohan Surana, Director of Operations, School of Management, University of Bath

A space for debate - Case Teaching Room

The Case Room is a mid-sized learning space designed to encourage the analysis and energetic debate of case study material. Arranged in a horseshoe shape, the furniture and technology enables easy transition between small group and full room activity. 

A central projector is complemented by 75” displays positioned around the room and the TeamMate lectern with Crestron control system offers academics the same digital tools and familiar user interface found across the other teaching areas.

Learning spaces designed for ease of use

One of the project’s primary goals was to achieve consistency in the user experience. Each of the remaining seven learning spaces, whether flat or tiered, single or dual projection, uses the same Crestron-driven user interface, with display and audio technology scaled to meet the space’s specific needs.

Crestron room control system at the University of Bath

Spaces to meet and collaborate

The 25 meeting rooms are fully enabled for remote conferencing and provide an opportunity for focused working and small group collaboration. The technology in the rooms is clean and straightforward. It typically includes a large format display, magnetic whiteboard, and a Teams Certified Logitech MeetUp to enable remote conferencing. Wireless presentation is offered via Vivi, a tool familiar to users and widely used across the Bath campus. A Crestron MPC3 controller provides an attractive, straightforward touch control to complete the solution.

An agile approach to project delivery

The project was carried out in the latter stages of the Covid-19 pandemic and at the start of global chip shortages. These events emphasised the importance of agile project delivery and supply chain management. By operating a robust variation process, Pure AV proactively managed product lead time issues and minimised product substitutions.

Strong project management and good coordination between the University, main contractor, M&E contractor and architect were fundamental to the project’s success. 

Construction delays required some flexing of timescales and resources in the AV delivery, all proactively managed and accommodated by Pure AV. 

All parties adapted quickly to the changed environment and made full use of virtual tools such as Microsoft Teams to maintain progress and quality with a restricted site presence.

Learning spaces at the University of Bath

A flagship for the university

The School of Management is a flagship building for the University of Bath. It is a place to inspire new levels of collaboration between the School of Management community and showcase the excellent learning, research and industry partnerships available.

To be able to host businesses, colleagues, academics and accreditors from around the world, makes me incredibly proud as Dean of what is a really fabulous facility.

- Prof Steve Brammer, Dean, School of Management, University of Bath

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