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East Midlands Chamber News

Students Union Transformed

The StudioThe transformation of the University of Nottingham’s 1950s Portland Building has begun with the opening of The Studio – a new social and performance space for more than 150 people.

The designs, by Nottingham-based CPMG Architects, are part of a wider project to create a new, dynamic hub to transform the Students’ Union through extensive remodelling, refurbishment and interior design.

It is the first of three phases to refresh the space, known as The Den, to create a contemporary addition to one of the university’s oldest buildings.

This is the second time Sara Harraway, Director at CPMG, has helped to modernise the Portland Building. She worked on the building’s final phases of refurbishment in 1994 when she was a junior interior designer at the firm.

“This is a project close to my heart as the Portland Building’s initial refurbishment was one of my first projects at CPMG,” said Sara.

“For this project we were given an ambitious brief which required our designs to maintain the heritage of the original 1950s building, as well as meeting the needs of the Students’ Union – a bold, yet sensitive approach.”

The Students’ Union President, Angharad Smith, has welcomed the renovations, which have meant that the previously underused area can now be utilised to its full potential.

She said: “It’s very different from The Den – which was quite dull and uninviting. The space has been completely transformed – it’s light, bright and has a more inclusive and sociable feel.”

Plans for the project began in 2014, with CPMG completing a comprehensive masterplan to modernise the Portland Building, making it more accessible and functional for the university’s thriving student community. The Studio has given the Students’ Union a space where clubs and societies can meet to manage and run activities. Further work is due to commence on-site next year.