The Catalyst Building forms part of FCB Studios’ wider masterplan and is intended to provide a focus for external engagement with business

Feilden Clegg Bradely Studios have completed the £40m Catalyst Building at the University of Staffordshire. It will function as a hub, providing services designed to support students through their education and towards future employment.

The building is part of a new generation of university facilities that seek to combine a range of functions in one place. It has been designed to be future-proofed, with a flexible layout that anticipates future changes in education.

Hugo Marrack, partner at FCB Studios said: “As far as possible this building has been designed to prepare for, or even invite, the ‘unknown’ brief of the 21stcentury. The idea is to let the building evolve with the pedagogy and let the users get on with how it is used.”

The buillding provides different environments for different social, academic and engagement activities. Different tempos of activity are cater for, becoming quieter and more specialised as occupants rise through the four floors of the building.

Internally, mix of exposed concrete frame, with timber linings, acoustic panels and carefully chosen furniture helps create a series of relaxed spaces. A café and event facilities are located on the ground floor, with a library, study spaces and a dedicated space for apprentices on the top floor.

The Catalyst is seen as key to shaping the future of the univerty’s campus. The building is located in the centre of Stoke-on-Trent. It is intended to provide a focus for connections between the university and industry. The university’s apprenticeship and business school programmes will use the Catalyst Building as a first point of call for employers coming to work with students and apprentices.


New external landscaping forms natural spill-out areas and additional social spaces on campus. Future initiatives to extend the landscaping to create wildflower meadows, a pond and a linear woodland garden will be part of the next phases of campus development.

Low energy and water use were key priorities for the design team, in line with the university’s net-zero targets. Photovoltaic panels on the roof will generate an estimated 200MWh of electricity a year. Materials and components were selected to minimise waste, for example through the use of prefabrication and pre-construction.

Project Team

Client: Staffordshire University

Architects: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Project manager: Mace

Cost consultant: Mace

Architect: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Structural engineer: Momentum Engineering

Building services Engineer: Max Fordham

Acoustic engineer: Max Fordham

Landscape designer: Grant Associates

Flood risk assessor: Peter Brett Associates

Transport engineer: Phil Jones Associates

Cost: £40m

Area: 8,800 sqm

Environmental values

  • On-site energy generation (predicted) 20%
  • Annual mains water consumption 350 m3/yr
  • Airtightness at 50pa 1.79 m3/h.m2
  • Heating and hot water load 16 kwh/m2/yr
  • Overall area-weighted u-value 0.35 w/m2k
  • Design Life 60 Years
  • Embodied / whole-life carbon 700 KgCO2eq/m2
  • Annual CO2 emissions 12 KgCO2eq/m2