Petroc – The Liberty Centre
Working to seemingly impossible deadlines is a frequent demand of building projects, but in this instance, the time scales dictated by the funding criteria were even more of a challenge than usual. Nevertheless the new Liberty Centre at Petroc opened at the start of the summer term 2013, less than eight months from when we were first commissioned!
The 400m2 facility provides a dedicated centre to develop employability and promote independent living and greater self-advocacy skills among students with learning difficulties or disabilities. The centre comprises four main modules accessed off a central foyer / break-out space. These provide spaces for teaching catering, domestic and life skills as well as a classroom and a seminar room.
Sitting on the south western edge of Petroc’s Barnstaple Campus allows the centre to have direct access to parking and the public face of the college. Moreover it provides a quieter setting with a pleasant outdoor terrace wrapped by an earth bund to give a sense of enclosure and shelter. Although built to a tight budget by education standards, the building is accessible, functional and attractive. The whole of the exterior is clad in grey boarding under standing seam effect pitched roofs, to give a sense of unity to the design and provide a low maintenance facade to reduce Petroc’s future maintenance costs. So it is certainly possible to procure a building on record time and within budget!