The Barn exterior
© Make
The Barn interior
© Make
The Barn interior 02
© Make
The Amenities Building, University of Nottingham 02
© Make
The Amenities Building, University of Nottingham 04
© Make

The Barn, University of Nottingham

Offering a range of facilities for student use, including bar, restaurant, café and various guild services, the Barn provides a central hub for the Sutton Bonington campus of Nottingham University. The fourth and newest campus in the university, the site is located on the Nottinghamshire-Leicestershire border.

Despite a relatively rural location, two existing low-rise structures (one with a basement) had to be demolished to make way for the new building, and another remained close by. Due to the brownfield nature of the site, the ground beneath the building footprint was predominantly made ground, with some topsoil. We proposed strip footings with localised areas of pad foundations, bearing onto a layer of medium dense sand below the surface; the slope of the site also necessitated the design of retaining walls in several places.

In terms of superstructure, the aim was to produce a vibrant facility that encouraged social interaction within an elegant and aesthetically pleasing facility centred on the double-height main hall. This hall is surrounded by small rooms across multiple levels for various uses, all connected by spacious, well-lit circulation areas.

The Barn’s material pallet is defined by elements of timber and brickwork which are used as part of the building’s unique integrated design. Internal brickwork walls provide services distribution and ventilation throughout, with long-span glulam timber beams providing the clear span to the dining hall and defining a biophilic expression.

Light was maximised through the use of full-height windows on each floor, and this, combined with the energy saving strategy and passive ventilation systems, provided the foundation for the Barn’s ‘Excellent’ BREEAM rating.

New timber and brickwork hub building for Nottingham University

Nottingham, UK

Nottingham University

Make Architects

£ 8.5 million

4,200 m²


  • 2015 RIBA Regional Award
  • 2015 RIBA Regional Sustainability Award