As an Oxford Brookes student you will have access to over 660 networked PC computers that the university has installed in pooled rooms across its campuses, many of which are open on the basis of 24-hour access, and offer programmes such as AutoCAD, ArchiCAD and Photoshop. Within the School of Architecture there are also 2 open-access digital studios on the 3rd and 4th floor of the Abercrombie building, in which there are computers with extremely high levels of specification. These studios are intended to be available to students who already possess at least moderate levels of digital skills and knowledge, and will operate on the basis of 24-hour access every day of the week.
Equipment and software are updated on a regular basis and are fully networked to digital projectors, a wide range of high-quality printers and plotters, and a laser cutter. In addition pooled rooms for use of programmes such as AutoCAD, ArchiCAD and Photoshop are available throughout the university for student use.
If you are a student with an IT issue relating to the Digital Studios or would like to enquire about CAD software licences please email ArchIT@brookes.ac.uk
Acoustics and lighting design
The Digital Studio is huge: 30m long with a 3.6m floor-to- ceiling height. In 2004 Niall McLaughlin Architects created a subtle approach to modifying the challenging acoustics. The practice was appointed after a competition to redesign the studio. The brief was to create a studio space with a sense of intimacy, where it was possible to work in a team with a group dialogue, or have a quiet conversation with a tutor without being overheard. The space was imagined as a thicket of data cables, power lines, clothes hangers and drawing hangers. Everything functional descends like rain from the ceiling. Floating in the ceiling void is a cloud of foam acoustic baffles, specially designed to deal with the noise in the large, open space.
Following advice from an acoustics engineer, NMA designed 500 acoustic baffles, each measuring 1.2mm wide, 600mm high and 100mm thick. Cut from Melatech open-cell melamine acoustic foam, the baffles are chamfered to one side, coming to a fine point, which provides a visual thinness to the bottom edge, while accentuating an essential visual lightness. Each baffle’s wedge shape also subtly increases essential-sound-absorbing surface area. A paint finish was considered but rejected, as it would have reduced acoustic absorption.
Suspended from the concrete ceiling by a simple low-tech clasp fixing, the baffles hang in six rows at 800mm centres, separated in the middle of the ceiling by a services tray that feeds the power cabling to the metal workstations below. A secondary function for the wedge-shaped acoustic baffles is to diffuse fluorescent tube light being bounced off the soffits. Filtered by the baffles, the tubes cast a blue light over the workspaces, supported by natural daylight from the glass walls. Breeze from open windows allows the baffles to move slightly, adding to the overall visual lightness.
Digital Information Centre
The School's print room includes high-quality plotting facilities linked to the digital studio, a large-scale copying machine and a wide range of cameras and photographic equipment available on loan to students.