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University of Essex Hexagon Building, Colchester, UK.

The Essex University Campus in Colchester was designed and planned by the Architects CoPartnership in the redbrick university expansion era. The campus was structured around a spinal service road, above were the main education buildings set around a plaza. Routes connecting residential blocks to the north and south bisected the plaza, the intersections marked by hexagonal node buildings. The Hexagon building, which forms the basis of our scheme, was the only node completed, and is thus the most important intersection on campus. The hexagon contained a restaurant, now disused, with the plaza level route obstructed by a laundrette. Our scheme to accommodate the University collection of Latin American Art opens the route at plaza level. A landscaped mound adjacent at plaza level created a sunlight place of rest in the centre of the campus. By adding an external vertical art and public lift and stair tower we were able to connect each level of the campus. Internally our scheme upgrades the original building to meet contemporary art storage and exhibition practice, removing excrescences to reveal and enhance the original character of the building. A large window was introduced to reveal the presence of the collection to the passing public and to place the museum on the University Plaza.