Strathclyde Student Union


“The team at Andy Thornton were an absolute pleasure to deal with from the start through to the end of this project. They brought fresh ideas, innovative thinking and problem solving to support the Union. The end result exceeded our expectations and has resulted in a fantastic finish to our brand new spaces at the Union - we’re absolutely delighted!” Manish Joshi, CEO, Strath Union

A multipurpose development with stunning results

Replacing the much-loved old Student Union on John Street was always going to be difficult, but with over five years of development in close consultation with students, the new building is more student-friendly than ever.

Strath Union, as it is affectionately known has now moved to a new, repurposed building, which offers a more accessible experience with brand new facilities, from gender-neutral toilets, to baby changing and breastfeeding areas. The space is bright and airy, excellent in Covid times and beyond, and the capacity is bigger allowing students to spread out more comfortably. 


Much more than just a student union bar

Over £60 million has been spent on developing the new learning and teaching building, which the new Strath Union is a part. Students now have the benefit of learning and socialising under one roof.

The result is a spacious interior with a contemporary ambience and hints of industrial charm. With many levels and rooms for every function, this multifaceted and multipurpose design has everything you’d expect from a union space and more.

There are bars, Roasters, the coffee shop and The Venue, an events space for everything from live music to yoga. There are screens for showing football, 10 pool tables and darts booths, food outlets and even a media suite which aims to be the eyes and ears of the union and will feature student radio and podcasts in the days to come.

But beyond entertainment and socialising, there are quieter spaces, mindful of mental health, where students can relax, think and work.


Impressive bespoke workstation units with charging sockets

The building crucially offers the 23,000 students that attend the uni an additional space to study in, a change from the traditional library setting and a break from simply working in their accommodation. Outside the Roasters coffee shop we designed and supplied two table units for this purpose: 8.4m and 6.4m workspace units with sockets for charging. The tops are made from mango plank and the base is a steel frame, powder-coated black. We also manufactured Essen Workspace tables to create a large sharing table.

Lounge seating

The concourse seating area has a retro lounge feel with Tribeca sofas, aviator cubes and vintage style butterfly chairs creating individual zones for smaller groups to socialise or discuss projects. This areas sits outside the student services rooms creating a welcoming, accessible and ultimately comfortable experience. 

Industrial interiors with summery spaces

The main bar area continues with the industrial feel – we supplied our refectory style Providence tables and benches with their mango wood tops and black steel frames in a range of sizes from standard dining height to bespoke poseur tables and larger ones to match the areas. All were laid out with a range of our vintage stools as well as some fixed tables in the booths.

It's not all industrial chic, part of the design brief was to bring the outside in and attempt to replicate Glasgow in its sunnier months, rather than the rainy ones which make up most of the term time. To this end there are deck chairs, and picnic benches on Astro turf spaces that all make up part of The Terrace bar area. 


E-darts booths are increasing in popularity among students and younger demographics as hospitality venues continue to embrace social entertainment and experiential nightlife. We have made a number of bespoke darts booths for entertainment giant Gravity, images coming soon. 

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