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workspace, educational and catering furniture


University of Manchester


The Alan Gilbert Learning Commons


Supply of furniture for The Alan Gilbert Learning Commons

The Alan Gilbert Learning Commons is a state-of-the-art 21st century learning environment at the University of Manchester. The landmark building was designed to encourage study in a stimulating and comfortable environment which is available to students 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Following a competitive tendering process Broadstock was awarded the contract to project manage the complete installation, co-ordinate the space planning to ensure that the positioning of all the furniture allowed access to power and data outlets and supply major items of furniture. Working with Kate Bulley and the Interior Team at Sheppard Robson Architects, as well as Mark Valentine, the Project Leader for the University and the University's IT Team, Broadstock spent over two years planning and refining the scheme before installation began in the Summer. Due to the 24/7 aspect of the building, computer security was of paramount consideration and it was also a requirement that all cable management facilities were invisible. The Commons offers a real variety of flexible and individual workspaces, combined with a large number of group study facilities with access to over 400 fixed computers, plus scanning and printing facilities. All the desking units, plus a large quantity of soft seating and refectory furniture, were fitted with Freemote units from FG Technology. The Freemote replicates all the standard controls of a CPU tower and can be fitted directly into worksurfaces but allows the tower to be installed securely and safely anywhere within a radius of 20 metres. Every seating position in the building has access to power points for laptop and telephone charging, In addition to the bespoke desking units supplied by FG Technology, furniture was also sourced from a wide variety of leading UK and European manufacturers including Bene, James Burleigh, Spaceoasis and Connection Seating. The building was delivered on time for the new academic year and is now fully operational. Mark Valentine, Project Leader for the University comments: "Unsurprisingly the feedback I'm getting about AGLC from everyone at the University is incredibly positive! However, most importantly though, the students absolutely love it. On Monday (the first day of opening) the speed gates recorded 2,735 entrances by 2,174 unique users. Yesterday the numbers were up to 4,000 unique users so it looks like word is getting around quickly."

"The Alan Gilbert Learning Commons is a state-of-the-art 21st century learning environment at the University of Manchester."