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University of Highlands and Islands Enterprise

The University of Highlands and Islands Enterprise was looking to expand its offering by building an Inverness Campus.

This would offer a high-quality environment for learning, innovation, collaboration and business development in Scotland.

An Lòchran, 10 Inverness Campus, Scotland

Sheppard Robson

University of Highlands and Islands - Enterprise & Research Centre

The Space

The University’s vision was to create a modern purpose built facility which had a uniquely highland and traditionally Scottish character. When searching for an architect to make this vision a reality, they found their partner in Sheppard Robson.

The Project

The University of the Highlands and Islands fosters collaboration and supports innovation. It serves as a beacon of world-class research in a wide range of disciplines: physical; ecological; cultural; historical and social. Accordingly, this project was to be multiplex in order to cater for each of these.

Known for their capacity to respond to the ever-changing political, environmental and cultural contexts, Sheppard Robson’s vision for the Inverness Campus was simple. They wanted a functional environment that enhanced the University’s natural surroundings whilst supplying students with world-class facilities, well designed sustainable buildings and generous landscaped green space.

To realise this vision, glass atria, glazing and partitioning that achieved outstanding acoustic performance was required. Aesthetically it was necessary to lay the building into the landscape and from a practical point of view, it was requisite to nurture an environment built on collaboration and partnership. Both themes were central to the University’s mission. Optima’s technical expertise was called upon to design solutions that were in line with Sheppard Robson’s design intent.

In a similar way, being an education institution there were specific requirements – both from a functional and safety perspective.

Firstly, a wide variety of acoustic requirements (some in excess of Rw50dB) and line loads were needed in the research and study areas. Secondly, each product had to be fully equipped with a fire rating and protective abilities.

Thirdly and finally, Optima’s products were required to meet the desired structural performance. To ensure that all of these structural and performance criteria were met, Optima produced the NBS for Sheppard Robson.

To realise the client and architect’s vision, Optima worked hard to engineer and install products that would bring the detailed technical drawings to life.

Throughout the University, Technishield 65 and Revolution 54 offset glazing can be seen alongside Optima’s iconic 117 plus single glazing and Revolution double glazing.

The Result

By its very nature, the installed glazing allows staff members and students to interact in a collaborative and open way.

When reflecting upon the success of the project, Rob Harvey at Sheppard Robson expressed how Optima’s glazed partitions “achieved design intent and the provision of fire and acoustic performance whilst maximising natural light.”

Working with Optima

Works on site were challenged by the fact that the contractor and our Scottish distribution partner, Modul8, had to work around multi-trade services, M&E and structural columns.However, throughout this.

However, throughout this three-month programme, Optima always worked to the highest standard of quality and efficiency, overcoming these challenges to deliver exceptional results.

When reviewing the project, Rob Harvey continued that Sheppard Robson “always use Optima for our projects due to the high quality and performance,” which was clearly the case on this build too.

He continues, “The systems look great and we have achieved the design intended and the client is pleased with the final product.” We are delighted with the final result too and are proud to have been part of such a prestigious development.

We are delighted with the final result too and are proud to have been part of such a prestigious development.



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