The University of Derby is a forward-thinking and dynamic institution, constantly seeking new innovations to help enhance the student experience. As part of the University’s commitment to its students, a brand new £10.8M state-of-the-art sports center was opened in September 2015 on the main Keddleston Road Campus. The Head of Sports Development, Ollie Shearer, was keen to ensure that the new facility possessed a feeling of ‘inclusivity’, such that any student could feel comfortable there, regardless of whether they were actively engaged in sport, or simply using the open seating spaces for study or relaxation.
Having witnessed the popularity of ‘The Learning Curve’ (an open access social study space in the very heart of the Keddleston Road campus) and in particular the mobile pods, which had been created by Space Design & Construction the previous year, Ollie approached Space Design once more to design and manufacture a mobile study pod for one of the open spaces within the sports center. The design brief for the pod was that it had to be in keeping with its intended environment, lightweight, mobile and with power availability for charging laptops, mobile phones etc.
Taking inspiration from sports ground dugouts, we created a pod that was large enough to accommodate a table and seating for up to six students, constructed from stainless steel tube to be light in weight yet strong enough to withstand regular movement, the gable and rear wall panels manufactured from whiteboard to create multiple writing surfaces, clear acrylic roof sheeting to allow 99% light transmittance and twin 13 amp 3 pin/USB power supplies within dado trunking to cater for a wide range of powered equipment. The pod was manufactured in a way that enabled it to be delivered ‘flat-pack’ to site and fully erected in under an hour, literally a ‘Pod in a box’!