School of Design Technical Facilities: Covid19 Arrangements

School of Design Technical Facilities: Covid19 Arrangements

Updated 06 October 2020

In response to the ongoing pandemic situation we have implemented measures that enable students to utilise the School’s specialist technical resources in a safe, managed way.

Note these measures relate specifically to the School’s studios / computing / workshop and photography spaces; they will also be subject to the University’s broader guidance which can be found here

You can expect an emphasis on pre-booking, greater remote access and some “click and collect” style operation when interacting with our technical facilities.

The S11 building will be open Monday – Friday 8.30AM – 9.00PM for access by students with timetabled taught activities or pre-booked session only.

A PDF of the entire floor plate can be downloaded here

A PDF containing detailed plans of all the studios – and computer lab 2001 – can be downloaded here


  • Open access PCs in studio: a limited number of machines will be available for pre-booking only.  AM / PM sessions, no “walk-ups”.
    Instructions for Pre-Booking here
  • Remote access PCS: we have enabled direct connection to our workstations to so allow direct access to their software and processing power from your home machine.
    Instructions for Connecting from home
  • Click and collect plotting:  send plots from home for collection from a Uni pickup point (note: the instruction is still for you to present and submit digitally).
    Note: this is rolling out gradually – currently access for BA & HND Graphics Students / BA & MA Landscape Architecture]
    Instructions for remote plotting.
  • Laptops: there will be no laptop loaning service


  • All studio spaces will be for timetabled classes only – unfortunately you will NOT be able to visit and work in studios unless part of a timetabled session.
  • You must not leave portfolios / models in studios; please bring and take away only what you need for your timetabled session.
  • Studio tables MUST NOT BE MOVED from their designated locations; seating must also be at the points at tables indicated.
  • Entrance to taught sessions will be managed so you will filter in gradually and fill up spaces from the back, etc.


  • We will have a photography studio setup available in the first-floor studios – for pre-booking only
  • The basement photography studio will be not be available unless specific arrangements have been made and approved – for single users only.

Further information about studios


  • Access to the bench area and woodworking machines by pre-booking online, no “walk-ups”. The workshop will be operating at a reduced capacity with a limited number of spaces each day
  • Wear a face covering at all times and the provided safety goggles when needed. FFP3 mask to still be worn when using certain machines or chemicals
  • Informal technical tutorial and model making discussions carried out via MS Teams, booked online in advance   
  • Laser cutting / CNC milling / 3d printing files submitted via email, these will be processed by staff and collected from a collection point at a specified time  
  • One-way entrance and exit routes will be implemented  

Further information about model workshop

We are also publishing guides and information to help students carry out valuable home studio tasks such as 3d scanning, photography techniques, model making and process specific resources.

Please be aware that as this is a changing situation the specifics of these arrangements may also need to change.  

Remote Access Plotting

It is possible to connect in via Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) to remotely send plots to the Design Studio plotter. These plots will then be left at the pickup point on the ground floor of building 11 for you to collect.

Note: this system would not support everybody printing as usual – please be sensible about your plotting needs; your tutors will accept digital submissions and presentation instead of paper ones.

This lightweight VDI does not have all the applications on it so you should prepare the files you need as PDF files (please ensure they are correctly sized and spellchecked, etc)

The plots will be brought down at intervals during the day and left on the shelves. We will try to trim them down too but if the amount of plotting becomes too much you would need to do this yourself elsewhere.

Older plots from the previous day will be rolled up and left on the top shelves if not collected.

These are the paper types available on the plotter for A2/A1/A0

  • Standard Paper : Coated Paper (120 GSM) – £1.00 / £2.00 / £4.00
  • Polyester Film (tracing paper)  (90 GSM) – £2.00 / £4.00 / £8.00
  • Premium Heavyweight Paper (180 GSM) – £1.50 / £3.00 / £6.00
  • Wallpaper Non Woven Paper (130 GSM) –  £2.00 / £4.00 / £8.00
  • Fine Linen paper  (130 GSM) –  £2.00 / £4.00 / £8.00

NOTE: Connections are gradually rolling out: currently this is just available to :

  • BA Graphic Design
  • HND Graphic Design
  • BA Landscape Architecture
  • MA Landscape Architecture

Connecting to the VDI

From your own machine visit the following site:

And choose VMware Horizon HTML Access (you could also connect via the VMware Horizon Client if you have it installed already)

Accept the terms of use and login with your University ID in the form of

You will then see a number of VDIs to connect to; choose

VDI – School of Design.

After a few moments you will be logged into this virtual machine within your browser window

Sending your Plots

Locate the PDF files you have prepared for printing

Note: the Uni OneDrive does not yet connect direct to this VDI so you would need to access files via the browser version of OneDrive (or use Google drive, or any other browser based file share)

Once you have your files open them in Acrobat Reader by right clicking and selecting Open With > Acrobat Reader DC. (Say NO if asked to make Acrobat Reader reader the default, and allow)

(Just double clicking the PDF will open the file with MS Edge which is more tricky to plot correctly from)

Once you have your file open in Acrobat Reader choose FILE – PRINT and pick the printer queue you want to send to:

For the regular paper plots (160gsm / £2.00 per A1) choose:


Then specify size by selecting PAGE SETUP and picking the size from the drop-down

Choose the size you want and then OK back to the main print page where you can see a preview indicating how your file will fit on the page. (You can choose FIT to scale to the page size but it is better if your document is correctly sized)

When you are happy then click print to submit the PDF.

After a few moments you will see a pop-up confirmation window that gives the price you will be charged (due to the way the area of plot is calculated the figure is not a round figure)

If the figure looks right then click CONFIRM. You will receive a message if there is not enough money in your account and the plot will not go through; you would need to send again after you have topped up your account.

You can monitor the progress of the plot by visiting this address in the browser window of the VDI session:


Once the file disappears from here it is in the plotter’s internal queue

You can top up your print credit online here

Collecting your Plots

The plot collection point is downstairs in the foyer; the roll cages.

Plots will be brought down every couple of hours and will be trimmed – if time permits though you may need to take care of this yourself offsite.

Newer plots to be laid flat on the lower shelves, older plots to filter to the top – and left rolled on top shelf. Plots left for over a week will be disposed of.

Please exercise sensible queuing / fetching when picking up.

Remote Access PC – Direct Access

The machines in the School that have been cordoned off for social distancing reasons have instead been made available to access directly from your machine at home. In this situation you take over the machine and have access to the power and software resources on it from your own Mac, PC or Chromebook – with the hard work being carried out by the Uni machine rather than your own machine – which is just a conduit to it.

To set yourself up for direct access you should first download and install the client software for your Mac, PC or Chromebook (the following example shows procedure for Mac).

–Service status 23.09.20:
Some applications are still installing to these machines


Visit : and click the link for Install VMware Horizon Client (use this link, not via Microsoft Store)

You will see a list of the clients for different platforms; choose Go To Downloads next to your machine platform and Download Now to get the installer.

The process for installing VMware varies according to device but for a Mac you would just drag it across to your Applications folder then launch it from there.

Connect to a Uni Machine

Create a new connection to the Uni with the address and hit Connect

And then login with your Uni id in the format

You will then see two “pools” which represent the remote machines in the first floor computer area:

  • GM-DST : these are the machines in the first floor studios.
    You can plot from these machines and they include ArcGIS / NetFab
  • GM-L2001 : this is the teaching lab on the second floor.
    If a class requires the remote machines you may be logged off.
    ArcGIS / NetFab is NOT installed in 2001.

Double click to choose the pool you want to take a machine from and you will be logged in and connected to it.

It is worth trying this out so you can become accustomed to the setup – it can be a little disorientating at first having Windows in a window and hopping between your own OS (the host) and the remote one.


You cannot use USB devices directly through the remote access – but you can use your Uni OneDrive space to transfer files.

You cannot copy and past between the host and the remote OS

When you join the pool you will be allocated an available machine at random – there is no way to choose a particular machine

You can find out which machine you have – and the hardware it us running – by pressing the Windows key and typing MSINFO followed by enter

These machines will be available any time – but 2001 may sometimes need them for timetabled classes.

If you leave the machine for two hours it will automatically log you out.

If you don’t explicitly log out of the Windows session and instead just quit VMware you are still logged in (for two hours)

Please logout / signout from the remote machine rather than quitting the VMware application – otherwise you are tying that machine up for another two hours

Pre-Booking System

We are implementing pre-booking system for access to some on-site resources in a controlled and safe way, Mondays to Fridays:

  • Design Studio Workstation PCS (18): AM / PM / EVE
  • Design Studio MACS (6): AM / PM / EVE
  • Design Studio Photography Studio-Pod (1): AM / PM
  • Workshop Spaces (6): AM / PM

The Moodle page for making bookings is here:

You must only come to the studio or workshop for your designated, pre-booked time slot.

When you arrive Support Staff will be on hand to offer assistance and let you know which machine/space has been allocated to you. For computer bookings, the the PC’s will be delegated first, then the iMacs. If you would prefer an iMac then please specify when making the booking in the comments section.

Workstation PCs

18 (dual monitor) machines are available in the studios for pre-booking. Machines and surfaces will be cleaned each morning by the University janitorial staff – but you should also wipe down the station at the beginning and end of your session using the cleaning wipes provided.

Photography Pod

A photographic setup with studio lighting and backdrops is available – for use by one user at a time. The studio will be bookable in 1 Hour slots.

Workshop Spaces

Seven workshop spaces are available for full day / half day slots. Wipe down shared machine and tools surfaces after use.

Specifications when buying your own computer

When choosing your own CAD / design / visualisation machine consider the following broad pointers for specifications.

  • Laptop will have the portability and convenience but a desktop workstation is likely to be more powerful for the same price.
  • Get as much RAM as possible; 8Gb minimum but 16gb or more recommended
  • Discreet Nvidia GTX or Quadro graphics card if you can – rather than onboard graphics.
  • i5/i7 class or AMD Ryzen cpu
  • SSD – solid state hard drive; it doesn’t necessarily need to be huge if you store data on an external drive.
  • Warranty – check this is not just a basic return to supplier option which would mean you are without a machine for weeks.
  • Screen: 1080p minimum resolution; for a desktop setup a 24 inch plus is ideal for CAD / visualisation – and adding a cheaper smaller second screen is a great productivity booster.

While machines without all these specs will still run the more power hungry applications it will likely be a frustrating and limited experience.


Macs won’t natively run some potentially useful software including:

  • Vray for Rhino – rendering plugin
  • 3D Studio Max – advanced 3d design / visualisation
  • ArcView – GIS Software
  • Autodesk Recap – laser scanning processing software

You can get discount on Macs via the Apple Eduction / Unidays store. A MacBook Air 13 with an upgrade to 16gb Ram is a pretty solid choice for graphic design students.

A desktop machine will likely be cheaper and easier to upgrade than a laptop – also you can have larger and dual monitor setups which is extremely useful for CAD / design work. have a great online machine configurator for getting a custom specification. A basic configuration could be easily improved later by swapping out for a better graphics card or adding extra RAM.

A refurbished or older machine with good specs is likely to be better than a new basic one – these two suppliers currently have refurbished laptops – with warranty – available for delivery:

Apple also sell refurbished and warranties models on the Apple Refurbished Site


Resources Available off site.

Note: The Stockwell Street Building and its facilities be closed from 17.00 Friday 20th March until further notice.

While you are unable to visit the University and access the School of Design facilities, here are some resources that may help while you continue your studies off-site:


Software available for download and installing onto your own machines:

Remote Rendering

It is possible to upload V-Ray render files to the University for processing on the workstation machines; uploaded files will be queued, processed and returned as .PNG images.

Instructions on how to remote render

Chaos also offer a paid render service themselves; priced according to render size and complexity

Chaos Cloud Paid Render

Learning Resources

Links to useful online tutorials / manuals / guides for popular design related software


Information about putting together a photography setup in your own home

Photography at Home


Workshop Activities at Home

Tech Support

We will endeavour to respond to queries and give advice regarding supporting off site activities as much as possible. Please mail us here

Key Dates 2020 : Timetable SUSPENDED

All key dates running up to the final submissions, end of year show and end of term are now SUSPENDED due to the current situation. A revised schedule will be published when conditions allow.

Monday 20th April

  • 24/5 Hour Access BEGINS (Proposed)
  • First / Second Floor S11

Monday 27th April

  • Final Submission
  • BA Architecture Year ONE

Wednesday 29th April

  • Final Submission
  • BA Architecture Year TWO

Monday 4th May

  • Final Submission
  • MArchitecture Year ONE

Tuesday 5th May

  • Final Submission
  • BA Architecture Year THREE

Wednesday 6th May

  • Final Submission
  • MArchitecture Year TWO

Thursday 7th May

  • Final Submission
  • BA / MA / MLA Landscape Architecture All Years

Friday 8th May

  • 24/5 Hour Access ENDS (Proposed)
  • First / Second Floor S11

Monday 11th-14th May

  • Install by SECOND YEAR Graphics / Animation students
  • Studios 1001 – 1006

Friday 15th May

  • SECOND YEAR Graphics / Animation Show
  • Studios 1001 – 1006

Monday 18th-22nd May

  • Deinstall by Students
  • 2nd year graphics show takedown

Monday 18th-22nd May

  • Studios 1001-1006 :Graphics / Media / Animation.

Tuesday 26-29 May (Monday is a BH)

  • Install by students
  • Graphics / Media / Animation

Tuesday 26-29th May:

  • Studios 10-21 (Architecture and Landscape)

Monday 1-3 June:

  • Marking
  • Graphics / Media / Animation

Monday 1-5th June:

  • Install
  • Architecture install (going into weekend if necessary)

Monday 1-5th June:

  • 1-5th June: Ground floor build and installation / FTV

Monday 8/9th June:

  • Rehang (where required)
  • Graphics / Media / Animation

Wednesday 10th June

  • Opening 6.00PM

Saturday 27 June

  • Open Day
  • Show closes 6PM

Sunday 28 June – 5th July

  • Deinstall by all students
  • Students to collect own work

Monday July 6th – July 10th

  • Deinstall
  • Remaining student work is moved to holding area

Monday July 13th – 24th

  • All first floor studio
  • Contractors to dismantle show and make good studios for beginning of term

Friday 28th August

  • Disposal
  • Unclaimed student work to be disposed / recycled

Academic Year 2019-2020 : What’s New

Here are some of the changes and additions for the design resources in Stockwell Street this new academic year.

New Studio Layout


Studio layout has changed; the tall walls in the crit pit put up for exhibition will now stay.  These walls are now open ended with shelving inside for extra portfolio storage in the studios.  More tables and chairs have been purchased too as well as new wheelable roll cages for tidier storage and transport of models / media / drawings.

Please make use of the extra storage – this year we are required to be tidier and less cluttered with work and models, etc. Please identify models and portfolios as your own – we may move these to storage shelves if they are cluttering the spaces.

The areas assigned to course groups have changed too; broadly the user / studio arrangement is like this

  • 1001 / 1002 : Landscape Architecture
  • 1003 / 1004 / 1005 / 1006 : Graphic Design
  • Crit Pit / 1020: Architecture
  • 1010 / 1019 : Shared studios


Software Updates :

  • Autodesk 2020 [about to be installed]
  • Sketchup 2019
  • Zbrush 2019
  • Cinema 4d r20
  • Blender 2.8
  • Vray Next

New software: 

  • KeyShot 8 – standalone renderer for Rhino, Sketchup etc.  Easy to use and fast.
  • Insta360 Studio – 360 camera editing
  • Cyclone Register 360. Laser Scanner registration and processing software

Plotting and Equipment

The plotting software has changed, we are now using Uniflow.  Prices have stayed the same, but now you will plot per area of plot – meaning you can choose any of the standard ISO sizes or make a custom size plot (for example a long plot).  The price is calculated according to the area and you will get a confirmation dialogue with the price for that area before going ahead.

New sheet feed plotter – we have an additional Canon TX-3000 plotter which has replaced the old sheet feed plotter.  Higher quality and faster – plots are also now charged per area of plot.

New Laser Printers: All of the A3/A4 laser printers in the University have been replaced.  The new models are faster, higher quality and deal with heavy PDF files better.  When printing duplex the second (back) page costs less.

NEW Ideal 4315 electric guillotine: this is a guillotine that will let you cut up to 40mm thick reams of paper / card in one go. It has an electric gauge and laser guide to allow precise measurements of cuts.  MUST NOT to be used with Perspex / wood etc. You will require the key to unlock and use this cutter – this will be available from support staff

Insta EVO 360 Camera

Camera for recording 360 degree movies and stills (used for creating video at top of this page). Includes “invisible” selfie stick.


NEW Ultimaker 5S 3D Printer: this is a new larger printer that allows print volumes of 330 x 240 x 300 mm. Small but important feature of this printer is that it will pause when it runs out of material the resume when it is refilled.

NEW laser cutter: Universal ILS9.150D can cut sheets up to 914 x 610. It is much more powerful than the old laser cutter it is replacing and much faster. The focus this year will be on all students doing their own laser cutting for straightforward jobs.

Key Dates: Summer Arrangements

Key Dates

Monday 1st July

Show take down for students

– Students to collect exhibition work this week. Please take any work you want to keep, or arrange for a colleague to collect it for you.  

Monday 8th July

Contractor Take down

– Any work still remaining in the exhibition will be moved to a collection pile between plot area and crit pit.

– While we will endeavour to have work moved and stored carefully we strongly advise you to take away important work as soon as possible.

– All portfolios in computer areas (and second floor seminar rooms) moved to storage rack between plotters and computer area

– Graduating students should also take away any items remaining in the workshop – continuing students must make arrangements with the workshop if items are to remain there.

Wednesday 24th July

– Lockers and black cupboards to be emptied, inspected, batteries replaced. 

[31st July – Resubmissions]

Monday 5th August

– Network Shared Area; S: drive to be wiped.  Please back up. It is full

– If you do need to retain work here then please move it to a folder named “2020-your name”, anything else will be deleted

Monday 2nd September

– Recycling / disposal of any remaining exhibition work still in temporary storage area.

– Items of interest may be used elsewhere for display or demonstration purposes but there is very limited space for retaining models.

Monday 16th September

– Term begins [induction week]

Monday 23rd September

– Teaching begins

Monday 30th September

– Recycling of remaining portfolios; portfolios to be emptied of contents and made available to new students

Design Studio :: Key Dates 2019

April 29 / 30 : Enterprise Event in Crit Pit and Studios 1001-1006 (work, models, portfolios will need temporarily to be moved elsewhere)

April 29 / May 3 : PLOT SLAM. Bring properly sized PDF’s to support office for 25% discount on plots

April 15 : 24 Hour Access Starts (Mon-Fri only; Sat / Sun midnight finish)

April 29 : First Year Graphics Submission [Typo – Magazine]

May 6 : Early May Bank Holiday

May 7 – 9 : Second Year Show SETUP

May 8 Submissions:

  • Submission: Architecture Year 1
  • Submission: Architecture Year 2
  • Submission: Architecture Year 3

May 9 Submissions:

  • Submission: Landscape Architecture Year 1
  • Submission: Landscape Architecture Year 2
  • Submission: Landscape Architecture Year 3
  • Submission: Landscape Architecture MLA1
  • Submission: Landscape Architecture MLA2

May 10 Submission:

  • Submission: Architecture Year 4
  • Submission: Architecture Year 5

May 10 – 13 Second Year Show 11_1001 – 11_1006

May 13 : Second Year Graphics Submission [Branding Portfolio]

May 15 : Third Year Graphics Submission [Professional Portfolio]

May 17 : 24 Hour Access Ends

May 20-25 : Exhibition Build: Graphics / 3D/ Media 11_1001 – 11_1006

May 27 : Late May Bank Holiday

May 28 – June 1st: Exhibition Build: Architecture / Landscape Architecture

May 29 : Workshop Deadline: Plinths / Exhibition Furniture

May 28-31 : Exhibition Hanging: Graphics / 3D / Media

June 3 – 7 : Exhibition Hanging: Architecture / Landscape Architecture

June 3 – 7 : Ground Floor Build / Install

June 3 – 7 : Marking: Graphics / 3D / Media


June 12 : Studio Floor CLOSED: For Deep Clean, catering setup, H&S inspection, etc.

June 12 : Exhibition Opening Night 6.00PM

June 28 : Final Day of public opening

June 29 : Open Day (Exhibition remains on display)

July 1 – 5 : Take down / collection of student work

July 8 – 12 : Exhibition Takedown