Centre for Competitive Creative Design (C4D)


The Centre for Competitive Creative Design (C4D) is a new addition to the Cranfield University campus near Milton Keynes. The Cranfield Campus is former RAF airbase. It specializes in high tech and aeronautical research and it is still an active airfield. C4D is a new and unique collaboration between Cranfield University and the University of the Arts London. It brings together two specialist educational institutions to explore creative design and engineering in close relationship with the industry. The side of the building facing back into the campus is intended to act as a shop window where design innovations can be displayed to passing students and staff.


The building is located near the heart of the campus, directly adjacent to a functioning airport. It sits beside Foster and Associates' Cranfield Library, which has a strong barrel-vaulted form facing an open square. Giant aircraft hangars flank the rest of the square. The C4D building sits right on the edge of the airfield and light aircraft taxi around within a few metres of the studio. It contains a large design space for students and a number of smaller office and meeting rooms. The main space enjoys a unique view towards the airfield, is naturally lit through a north-light roof, flexible to use and protected from outside noise. Fresh air is brought through the ground and fed through a floor plenum so that it is thermally and acoustically baffled. All of the glass has high acoustic performance. The north lights give a glare free environment for digital screens and the roof overhangs all sunward sides to protect from direct sunlight. The geometry of the building is a natural consequence of these requirements.

Working in the studio is a lovely experience. There is an even level of light all around and it is wonderfully quiet as you watch the aircraft drift by just outside.

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