University of Nottingham, Teaching and Learning Building


55" and 85" Microsoft Surface Hubs

10 VariHite Screens Stands

TeamMate Totem AV Stand

Balance Box Mounts

TeamMate Totem Slims

The new Teaching and Learning Building is the latest addition to the University of Nottingham Park Campus. The 5,000m2 teaching facility was developed with the aim of ensuring that teaching is of the highest quality and well-regarded within the University. The building also sought personalisation of the learning experience. At the core of this goal was a supportive learning environment that consolidated the design of library, social, teaching and learning spaces with a focus on flexibility and a collaborative academic environment. The new Teaching and Learning Building includes a variety of flexible learning spaces, seminar rooms, study pods and a 306-seat lecture theatre. The design of the AV within said spaces focused on flexibility, creativity and support, with solutions being bold and enterprising enough to allow for the support of different academic purposes.   

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Enhancing the classroom experience

While each space featured a fully integrated lectern (meeting the standard throughout the University of Nottingham), they aimed to meet their goals and enhance the classroom experience by installing Microsoft Surface Hubs throughout the building. While the integration of an all-encompassing technological solution ticked many of the University’s boxed, the provision and integration of so many of these units would inevitably pose a challenge. One of those challenges involved adherence to Equality Act compliance, meaning that the interactive displays in the seminar and huddle rooms required mounting in a manner that would facilitate easy vertical movement of the heavy units.

With the Microsoft Surface Hub units being large and heavy, producing a solution that would offer the strength and freedom of movement required was no simple feat. After discussion with Dave Halford, University of Nottingham’s Teaching Room Support Group Leader, at ISE in 2018, TeamMate together with GVAV put forward bespoke variants of their incredibly popular Totem AV stand. These new solutions bore custom brackets to fit Balance Box height adjustable mounts. The solution presented enabled users to effortlessly manoeuvre the Microsoft Surface Hubs up and down with a touch of a finger, allowing interaction with the screen at any height. The Totem AV Stands in the seminar rooms also had provision for any additional rack mountable equipment and provided easy access to the enclosures via the lockable doors on the front and sides. The result was a perfect answer to a very challenging question, and one that the customer was very happy with.

Ian Pearshouse, Senior User Experience Designer – Physical and Virtual Learning Spaces at University of Nottingham noted, “The Balance Box Totems have been received very well by the lecturers. The only issue is how far they are away from the wall - but it's unavoidable due to the weight of the units and doesn’t negatively impact the aesthetic.”
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Accessible Solutions

While each space within the building was designed from the ground up, one of the highlights of the building is the main open plan flexible learning space. In this one room is a set of 10 VariHite Screens Stands supporting 55” Surface Hubs. These robust carts were designed to enable students to manoeuvre them to different workstations to encourage active collaboration within the teaching environment. The height adjustment feature also accommodated any user with a disability. In addition to the numerous electronically height adjustable VariHite Screen Stands, a mobile Totem AV Stand with an 84” Surface Hub acted as the front-of-class interactive display, accompanying the standard lectern and projection.

For the Seminar rooms Totem floor-to-wall stands supported 84” Microsoft Surface Hubs as a front-of-class display. In addition, Totem Slims were chosen for the much smaller study pods.

The Result

The new building now has over 20 flexible learning spaces with new AV/IT facilities that will provide students with greater opportunity for collaboration and interactive learning. Each interactive display was installed on equality act compliant technical furniture which could encourage users who may have a disability to use the technology. Asking Dave Halford about the project, he highlighted that everything was delivered to the standard required, and feedback so far has been positive. With it being a new build, the aesthetics were an important consideration early on with the customer noting, “The brief was specific and included a new lectern design. It went through a panel of academic staff for everything to be approved and so we knew beforehand that the equipment would fit into the overall design.

The brief went through a lot of people where colours, design and accessibility all had to be considered. Lecterns were all height adjustable and over 50% of the building is covered by induction loop systems. The result is a building that provides accessibility and aesthetics.”

When asked about plans to roll out similar solutions throughout the university and its many campuses, Ian said,

“At the moment, all changes made for the building has been accepted as a change to University standards. Although there are no new builds, refurbishments will adopt these new standards.”

“We've had a relationship with GV for 8 years and they have a good understanding of how the university works - and that's worth its weight in gold! Everybody on both sides showed flexibility and used joined up thinking to resolve issues.”

Ian Pearshouse,

Senior User Experience Designer