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Flagship development within a campus-wide redevelopment programme

Vijay Patel Building

The Vijay Patel Building was delivered as the flagship development within a campus-wide redevelopment programme for De Montfort University, providing new facilities for fashion and textiles, art, design and architecture. The building incorporates a 300-seat lecture theatre, with tiered seating that can be retracted when not required, lending more flexibility to the use of the space.

The Vijay Patel Building forms a striking centrepiece to our £136 million campus transformation project. It is stunning to look at both inside and out and is proving to be an inspirational teaching and learning space for our students and staff.

Umesh Desai

Director of Estates & Commercial Services

With our team providing building services engineering and sustainability consultancy, the new facilities were completed to a high standard, achieving a BREEAM Excellent rating and drawing strong praise from staff and students. They were described as the ‘best new building in Leicester’ by the Leicester Civic Society, with the judges celebrating both its modernity and strong functionality.

The flexibility to retract the lecture-theatre seating meant that the air supply diffusers had to be carefully selected to provide the correct airflow and stratification within the space, while not causing draughts and discomfort to occupants when the room was configured as a lecture theatre.

Given the scope and complexity of the development, a coordinated approach was essential across the design team. We therefore used BIM throughout the design period before appointment of the contractor, and we supported extensive client and stakeholder engagement from the outset to inform high-level design concepts.

We undertook all-encompassing surveys and meetings with the University hierarchy and end users. We supported these with feasibility investigations to capture services requirements which identified unit dimensions, electrical loadings, noise levels, working envelope, drainage, ventilation rates, PAT testing, condition of existing equipment, transfer location, etc.

Using dynamic thermal modelling helped us develop our mechanical ventilation strategy and optimise the glazed façade. This maximised daylight, natural ventilation and solar control, as well as meeting the university’s performance and sustainability criteria. Our ventilation design comprised mechanical ventilation with heat recovery.

Thermal modelling allowed us to accurately assess CO2 levels and overheating issues within the lecture theatre, which we resolved through use of invertor-driven motors, CO2 and temperature sensors and heat pump condensing units integrated into the air handling unit’s controls. This ensured a minimum ventilation rate would always be delivered, with the volume flow rising based on increased occupancy or space temperature. It also provided a simple and intuitive means of adjusting the room conditions.

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De Montfort University




Building services engineering, Sustainability and energy





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