The energy-efficient campus of the University of Nottingham includes three landmark buildings as well as the tallest public art-form in the United Kingdom, all designed by Make Architects, a UK-based architectural firm, established by Ken Shuttleworth in 2004. The International House and the Amenities Building contain administrative and staff facilities. Both these structures have terracotta-tile facades, with eye-catching patterns in earthy reds and browns. The third block, namely the Gateway building forms a focal point, and the entrance to the campus. Its curvilinear form clad in striking, silvery zinc shingles, rises from two green mounds. This block bridges the adjoining Triumph Road, to connect the academic, business and the enterprise zones of the university campus.
A water-body has been created by incorporating a former channel of the River of Leen, into the design. This conduit is linked to the former campus lake, via a public boulevard. A 60-metre high twisted-lattice art-form titled Aspire, towers over the boulevard. From its cylindrical base of exposed concrete, the Aspire rises towards the sky in tubular fashion and has a 60 degree angled opening at the apex. Aptly named, it represents the aspirations of the people and the city of Nottingham.
The treated facades of all three buildings reduce heating and cooling loads. A displacement system maintains air quality inside the buildings. Energy extracted from nearby lakes, by heat pumps used through a closed-loop system, to cool the buildings in summer and warm them in winter. Rain water and run-offs are re-pumped into the lakes. The design thus displays high standards of energy efficiency, proving to be a benchmark for similar institutions to be developed in the future.