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SCHOOL OF EDUCATION

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Built in 1984, the School of Education at the University of East Anglia has widely been acclaimed as an excellent marriage of technology and cost-effective design. The American architect Rick Mather designed the building on a theme of 'Circles and Squares' and has created a much admired working environment emphasising human scale. The process of consultation and development was regarded at the time as a way forward in client and architect cooperation. The building is finished in grey tiles which blend with the surrounding University site and carefully preserved pine trees. It is approached through a winding path through trees at its main entrance. There are 189 rooms on three floors, but such is the ingenuity of design that at no point are there long corridors. Mather has broken these by turning corners so that the eye is not drawn into long empty rectangles but towards angles, circles and columns. The central well of the building is light and spacious. The repeating circular forms, enhanced by white plaster, contrast well with the textured walls elsewhere. There are window seats and display areas where the School's collection of etchings, screen prints and relief prints are on permanent exhibition. The building was constructed using a revolutionary 'Hi-tech' building technique for the time. This was a means of pumping concrete into cardboard formers to create supporting columns. This allowed costs to be met and a high degree of finish to be achieved in terms of fittings Inside the building there are specialist studios for art and design, science labs and a large Curriculum Resources Centre. All are purpose-built. In 1988 the EDU building received the Royal institute of British Architects Regional Architecture Award for design and construction.

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