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New collaborative space created by University of Reading students to be unveiled – University of Reading

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New collaborative space created by University of Reading students to be unveiled

Release Date 07 May 2019

The project will be based at the University of Reading's London Road campus

Architects and the local community will come together in a unique project being launched by the University of Reading this summer.

Second-year students from the University’s School of Architecture have helped to, designed and built an Urban Room, a temporary wooden structure which carries the potential for enabling conversation and encounters between people and communities across Reading as a town and the University.

Built as part of the students’ coursework the Urban Room, which has been supported by The Shanly Group, will be based at the University’s London Road campus.

As part of the University’s arts strategy, the Urban Room will host a programme of events asking the question: ‘How can arts practice help create a ‘door’ between the town and the University?’.

Professor Lorraine Farrelly, Head of Architecture said:

“We want our students to learn about making full-size structures. Each year they work alongside professional architects, engineers and a specialist contractor to build a small temporary structure on campus. This year it is a small space intended to facilitate debate and discussion in the community around architecture urban design and placemaking.

“The structure has been supported by the Shanly Group as part of a series of connections with the University and the School of Architecture. This includes sponsoring the structure, sponsoring our student-led public lecture series ‘Making Architecture Making communities’. We will also be working with them over the summer to develop an exhibition to be hosted in the School of Architecture in September to celebrate 50 years of the Shanly group.

“As part of the University’s arts strategy, we will be inviting Reading artists, University students and staff, community organisations and the public to discover and rediscover the Urban Room during a series of interventions, invitations and events throughout May and June.”

Miranda Laurence, Arts Development Officer, said:

“Working in collaboration with local arts organisation jelly, the Urban Room will host six artist micro-residencies, where Reading artists will be invited to occupy the space for two days at a time, providing specific moments for the general public to encounter their practice and exchange ideas.”

Reading International and the University’s School of Art have also been invited to host reflective events on their recent community-facing programmes.

Finally, the School of Architecture will celebrate ‘Hybrid Practices’ through an architecture-artist lens, inviting public, artists and University researchers to explore what happens when different expertise come together to explore one set of problems.

Following the Urban Room arts programme, the space will become an exhibition venue for Architecture students to show the outcome of their work. After dismantling, the Urban Room will have a further life at a nearby primary school as an outdoor learning space for children.

For more information on the Urban Room visit


Journalists and photographers are invited to the launch of the Urban Room at 5.30pm on Tuesday 7 May. The event will start in the foyer of L46 at the London Road campus, postcode RG1 5AQRefreshments will be available. Please email to register your place.

The Urban Room will be built by students from the School of Architecture between 26 April and 3 May, in collaboration with academic staff and external contractors:

Fabricators: Xylotek

Structural engineers: Corbett Tasker

Design team: Invisible studio

The Shanly group are working in partnership with the School of Architecture offering sponsorship as part of their 50 year celebration.

The University would like to thank them for their contribution towards the Urban Room structure and sponsorship of our public lecture series.

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