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Developing a pioneering workspace

04 Jul 2019

The workspace brief has been agreed for MECD

MECD (Manchester Engineering Campus Development) passed another milestone this week with the Capital Planning Sub-Committee (CPSC) agreeing the workspace brief.

Within MECD, workspace will include office areas used by academic, PS and research staff plus PGR students – approximately 1700 people. The vast majority will be will be located on levels 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the MEC Hall building, with smaller pockets of workspace are in Oddfellows Hall, Upper Brook Street building, York Street building and James Chadwick building.

In summary, the MECD workspace design brief will comprise of:

  • Shared offices for academics;
  • Open plan office environment with a desk for all PS and research staff and PGR students;
  • Co-location by research group or team membership;
  • A wide range of bookable and non-bookable work spaces for quiet concentration, collaboration and meetings;
  • Informal social spaces with kitchen facilities will be available throughout every floor.

This agreed design brief is the result of an unprecedented amount of staff and student consultation which started with the initial requirements gathering in 2013.  In 2016, a programme was undertaken by workplace consultants Woods Bagot to revisit the workspace brief, and the MECD Workspace Pilot project, situated on the Pariser Lawn, in which 140 academic, research and PS staff and research students have participated. There are few exemplars of such significant workspace engagement anywhere else within the HE sector.

The next step is to begin the detailed design of the workspace, which will include engagement at a research group and team level. This is an opportunity for The University and the Faculty of Science and Engineering to develop a sector-leading, evidence-based workspace environment - benefitting from a wide range of support spaces for everyone and retaining the close connectivity between academic colleagues, research groups and PS partners that has so positively impacted social and professional interaction in the Pilot Workspace.

As part of this detailed design phase the Pilot Workspace will be remodelled to reflect the new brief.  It will also continue to be used to provide colleagues with opportunity to test and adapt to their new environment, before moving to MECD. This detailed design phase will conclude in January 2020.