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Student reckoning: University of Exeter Forum by Wilkinson Eyre.

Interior of the hub

A double curved timber grid-shell roof, clad in copper and ETFE cushions, flows between existing buildings on the University of Exeter's Streatham campus enclosing a new infill building. Designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects, the project provides a new entrance to the campus, a student hub and other teaching accommodation. The building is considered an important milestone in the university's development and reinforces its ambition to become a UK top 10 institution.

The creation of such a building also marks an important shift in emphasis for UK universities generally. The concept of the ivory tower, where academic matters take precedence above all other considerations, is no longer sustainable in an environment where annual tuition fees per student are up to £9,000. Suddenly, there has been a realisation that students are also customers and if their requirements and expectations are not fully met, they will go elsewhere to study.

The new concept is 'student experience,' and it is clear its quality at some UK universities is going to have to improve dramatically. With the Exeter Forum this university hopes they have stolen a march on the their competition.

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