A gateway building for the University of Bath

10 West

Location Bath
Client University of Bath
Awards Best Educational Building, LABC Building Excellence Awards - National Finalist

A brief history

10 West was the first of the new buildings envisaged by the University masterplan for the western end of the Claverton Down Campus, situated prominently on the Bath skyline and at one of the campus entrances. This marked the beginning of AWW's long lasting relationship with the University.

Design vision

10 West brings together the disparate facilities of the Psychology department for the first time, giving them a cohesive identity on campus. Alongside the department are complementary activities, including a conference suite, and dedicated post graduate study space. This integration demanded a design which placed collaboration at its heart to encourage chance meetings and connections.

Delivering the design

Within the Psychology Department, there was a need for a mix of spaces to accommodate the varying needs of academics, students and researchers. We worked in close collaboration to develop a model that included a suite of 10 labs tailored to specific research streams, academic offices, breakout areas and meeting rooms.

Working in collaboration

The Claverton Down Campus has limited development opportunities: every site must deliver maximum opportunity for the University. 10 West was no exception. By working with our cost consultant colleagues and utilising our expertise in digital design, AWW developed seven costed options at Stage 2. These fully explored the available scale and massing achievable within the highly sensitive planning constraints. This quantitative approach resulted in a building 40% larger than originally envisaged, with no greater footprint.

Soft landings

To assist in the occupation of the new building, we undertook the role of design team soft landings champion. Our comprehensive digital 3D Model provided visualisations to ensure that users were familiar with their surroundings prior to occupation.


The project had already begun when the University requested a dedicated Graduate Study Commons. The additional space already designed into 10 West plus our proactive engagement with the new user group, design team, contractor and subcontractors allowed this change in design to be absorbed into the existing programme, whilst the project was under construction.

Using BIM, we were able to develop several costed options in a matter of days, resulting in a flexible, legible and easily maintainable building.

Overcoming challenges

The project's World Heritage Site location posed a huge challenge to the design of the building. The use of BIM, implemented throughout the project, allowed us to maximise use of the developable area on a congested campus and within a sensitive planning environment.

The Graduate Commons instructed six months prior to completion was an additional challenge, but although the change was substantial, we achieved it within the original timeframe, thanks to our integrated BIM programme.


At the heart of the facility is an impressive glazed volume with a cantilevered staircase linking the various levels and activity.


By balancing glazed and solid elements, 10 West maximises the passive control of solar energy while providing dynamic and accessible vistas into and out of the building.

The building is fabulous! It is pleasant and spacious with a design that works very well in every area. The way the Charles worked with us enabled us to implement some ideas about how we think a department works optimally. One idea was the integration of academic staff, PhD students and research fellows. Today all these folk were walking and talking amongst each other and I am confident that this concept will really help us to establish a vibrant research culture."

Professor Bas Verplanken, Head of Department of Psychology

Robust elegance

Situated on an exposed hillside, 10 West is robustly detailed to promote long life and low maintenance with no loss of style.


Throughout the building, opportunities are provided to facilitate serendipitous meetings and to highlight the range of activities being undertaken.