The Barn / Make Architects

The Barn / Make Architects

  • slider
  • slider-2


Designed by Make Architects, The Barn is Make’s first completed brick building and was developed in response to the University’s 2008 masterplan for the 100-acre Sutton Bonington campus. The plan sought to establish a new amenities building which would have a legible configuration, with clearly defined entrances and general public spaces arranged around a large, open concourse.


The 4,250sqm building unites previously disparate student and staff facilities to create a welcoming environment for its users. The principle spaces in the building – the concourse, dining hall and the bar – all have scenic views of the surrounding landscape and are linked together by a generous staircase.


Make selected brick, as the principle material, for its robustness, natural qualities and durability throughout the lifetime of the building. To enhance the brick, timber screens, oak flooring, and a polished concrete floor were incorporated to evoke a calm and elegant interior. Combined with an abundance of natural light, the building creates a warm and inviting environment with a real sense of presence.


The locally sourced brick from Leicester creates a series of parallel walls which define the spaces and provide a legible and coherent layout for the building users. Their design responds to the way in which people move around and across the campus and was driven by views out of the building into the surrounding landscape. The brick walls run north–south, parallel to the campus’s key pedestrian movement routes.
The brick feature walls also contain the building services within them – with air supplied at low velocity at the base of the walls via timber panels, and the exhausted air returned at high level via perforated brick screens.


Make employed different bonds and brick-laying patterns and used ‘hit-and-miss’ brickwork. This can be seen in the dining hall, where the perforated walls provide an acoustic treatment and act as sound absorbers so the large space isn’t too echoey or noisy. There is also the unique geometry of the brick balustrade of the grand stairs which has been formed from cut and bonded brickwork and was created on site by specialist subcontractors.

The Barn is naturally ventilated which saves energy and ultimately reduces the building’s carbon footprint. The use of bricks, with their thermal mass capabilities, contribute to creating a comfortable internal environment. The building will have large numbers of people arriving in them within very short periods of time. Thermal mass will temper the heat that suddenly accumulates, storing it and flattening out the peaks and troughs. The Barn represents our consideration of the building’s form and fabric of which brick plays a significant role. Sustainability was at the heart of Make’s approach to the development of The Barn. The building has been designed to achieve a BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating, materials that had a high ‘green guide’ rating were prioritised, and Make sought to use only locally and responsibly sourced products.


Extra Info

Project date:

University of Nottingham