The Information Commons, Sheffield

The Information Commons at Sheffield University has been designed to be the ultimate workspace for students combining a variety of different study environments in one light, airy and spacious building. The Information Commons opened in April 2007 and has won the Construct Award for Innovation and Best Practice in 2006 as well as a regional RIBA Award in 2008.

The building provides a range of study environments over 4 floors and includes 6000m2 of floor space and a rooftop plant room. Part of one floor is a thicker transfer slab over an existing electrical sub-station.

DDA designed the floor slabs using a Cobiax semi-precast concrete structural floor system to help reduce foundation loads and increase the speed of construction on site. The use of this form of construction enabled the floor slabs to be kept to a minimum thickness. It also has the benefit of maintaining bi-axial bending capability whilst acting as a void former in the flat slab construction.

The reduction in the volume of concrete contributes significantly to environmental benefits and a reduction of up to one third of embodied carbon dioxide (CO2).