CHANGING FACE OF TEESSIDE; NEW Buildings for the University of Teesside Are Transforming Middlesbrough's Landscape and Attracting Students to the Area. Education Reporter JOANNA DESIRA Met Staff, Students, and the Architect to Find out More about the Positive Impact These New Modern Structures Are Having

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Byline: JOANNA DESIRA

21st CENTURY buildings with unbeatable facilities are attracting students from across the world to the University of Teesside.

It has been a year since the university opened its latest buildings - the Athena and Phoenix Institute of Digital Innovation (IDI) - and their influence is being felt on campus.

The Athena Building has brought together the schools of art and computing - to enhance the ways they can work together.

The IDI houses the Digital City regeneration project as a modern appealing environment for new businesses to thrive.

Both buildings were designed by Nottingham-based CPMG Architects.

Nick Gregory, group director, said: "They are two related buildings with different emphasis. The Athena is an integrated building for students doing first degrees and it is the first time for the co-joining of art and design and the school of computing.

"The idea was facilitating a mix of ideas and dialogue between all departments and key to the process was to have spaces to try and engage different people and skills.

"We created spaces which could have a multi-function for both schools and potential for break out areas for exhibitions and for teaching learning and socialising.

"Display of the subject matter being created was very important. There is very low key colour because we didn't want to do anything to compete with the work being created.

"The IDI is quite different - it is almost a business technology facility and to a great extent for post-graduate research and a focus for people in the Athena to hopefully aspire to move up to."

Andy Price, assistant director of the Phoenix IDI Building, said: "The Phoenix Building is a provision for contact between other business communities and different parts of the university - post-graduate and under-graduate.

"The building is a manifestation of the university's strategy for trying to reach out to the business community and the wider research community."

Jo Hamill, subject leader in graphic design, said: "Both buildings feel like a statement of the quality of the work the goes on in here. I know with the Athena the standard of the work students are producing mirrors that fantastic space we work in."

Mr Price said the buildings have helped improve the image and perception prospective students have of the university.

"The buildings are having a great impact on potential students visiting the campus," he said. "There have been benefits of understanding the university's potential in terms of what it wants to do."

Dr Simon Stobart, assistant dean of the school of computing, said: "Statistics this year for the school of computing have shown 54% of potential students who have come for interview want to come here and that conversion rate is down to the campus, facilities and infrastructure. …

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