Lancaster University Spine

Lancaster University Spine

The project’s aim is to rejuvenate the principal pedestrian walkway on Lancaster University's Bailrigg campus - the ‘Spine’. The existing Spine is stronger in concept and intent than is evident in its current form and is currently considered a negative aspect of the University's campus. The existing canopy to the spine is low, dark and heavy in material and oppressive; and in a number of places it is inconsistent or varied to the extent that it doesn't offer the protection it is provided for.


Lancaster University


Lancaster, UK



The proposals involve re-defining the Spine as a necklace thoroughfare with enlivened building frontages, and a series of characterful connecting spaces with diagonal relationships to knit the campus together. The proposals are informed by the original 1960s campus vision and a sense of the original rich design concepts. Bringing this to the 21st century the scheme envisages a rejuvenated spine that is firstly about space and variety whilst providing functionality, shelter and protection.

The new arrangement provides ‘outdoor rooms' that once again engage the Spine with buildings and their interiors and sees external space used and enjoyed by all. Spaces along the Spine will have varying character commensurate with their location, adjoining buildings and orientation. Designs are exciting and striking and will offer surprise and serendipity to users whilst also providing a coherent treatment along its 1km length ensuring that there is legible, recognisable and aids wayfinding.

Cantilevered canopies provide shelter and enclosure whilst also opening up long views and openness to spaces, courts and gardens. Views to the sky and allowing light into the spine have been prioritised and the canopy is configured to maximise light reflection and diffusion throughout the year. It is recognised that design solutions and materials need to be robust and durable with a focus on use, maintenance and longevity.

A single unifying new hardwearing ‘carpet' of paver will underpin a rich & warm material selection enhanced by soft landscaping. Complementing this, lighting is key to provide a vibrant, changeable and safe spine, which - married with wayfinding and entrances - will make a lighter brighter and more navigable route. 

Landscape concept based on the original 1964 Shepheard Epstein masterplan
Early design concept sketch
1 / 2 Landscape concept based on the original 1964 Shepheard Epstein masterplan

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