Faithful+Gould have seen the successful opening of the University of Salford’s newly developed Faith Centre and helped it be shortlisted for a prestigious RICS award for community benefit.
An ambitious project to bring together all faiths in a single location, it has been designed to support the spiritual wellbeing of students and staff while increasing the understanding of, and respect for, religious beliefs and practices.
With over 19,000 students from across the world and 2,000 staff, University of Salford has a population of a small town and is, in itself, a diverse community. The new Faith Centre aims to bring together the University community, providing a common place of worship for all faiths to reflect, worship, learn, read, study, engage in dialogue and interact on a daily basis. In its role, Faithful+Gould, fulfilled the roles of lead designer, principle designer, contract administrator and quantity surveyor.
The design for the Centre focuses on the creation of ‘faith neutral’ spaces to provide a ‘safe place’ and retreat. Featuring a blend of styles from all faiths, artefacts from different faiths are on constant, clear and open view creating a vision of ‘unity by inclusion’ to all members and visitors.
The space that has been created was within the restrictive constraints of an existing building, with alterations required to the existing interior and exterior spaces to meet both programme and budget needs. “It has been a challenging, but ultimately rewarding project,” say Ged McNicholl, Faithful+Gould director. “We believe we have addressed and accommodated the individual and collective needs of the faiths, genders and societies in the delivery of this project and helped to provide a lasting example for the University and wider society on how a multi-cultural society with different beliefs can come together to achieve one common goal.”
"This is something so few Universities have. A dedicated space of this quality really shows the value we place in our students, and the community who can use this space as well."
Julie Waddicor, University of Salford Head of Student Experience and Engagement
The ground floor provides the Islamic faith with prayer facilities consisting of separate entrances for males and females leading to separate prayer halls, including shoe stores and purpose built WCs. On the first floor there is a worship and quiet prayer area for all individuals, chapel/oratory for the Christian faith, meeting rooms, social space, library, offices, consultation space and main kitchen open to all faiths as well as a separate kosher kitchen - the first in the University.
The first project of its kind for the University, and funded entirely by Salford University, it was fundamental for its success to ensure that the detail of design was correct for each faith. A combination of thorough research, best practice design and a close working relationship with the chaplains ensured that all requirements were met.
Julie Waddicor, Head of Student Experience and Engagement says: “This is something so few Universities have. A dedicated space of this quality really shows the value we place in our students, and the community who can use this space as well.”
The new Centre was designed in line with the University’s campus development plan and feedback from the University community and its chaplains; Imam Rashid Musa, Rev Kim Wasey, Sr Teresa Wild and Rabbi Ephxaim Guttentarg.