A turf cutting ceremony this week has marked the beginning of works to develop a £4 million state of the art, craft and digital design workshop block for the Plymouth College of Art.
The institute says that the facility, which will be adjacent to it main building in the city's Tavistock Place, will place it at the "forefront" of contemporary crafts training.
Mansell Construction has been appointed to undertake the sustainable development, which based on blueprints created by Bath-based architects, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios.
The project will aim to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating with sustainable features including heat recovery processes and solar shading. Renewable low or zero carbon energy sources are also being considered.
The building will provide an additional 1650m² of specialist workshop space and will house "fantastically equipped" ceramics, glass and digital design workshops that will include a range of facilities for rapid prototyping with computer aided design including 3D printing and laser cutting. With student experience at the heart of the project, space will also be allocated for student work stations, communal hubs and display areas.
The workshop block will provide a learning environment not only for students studying contemporary crafts, but those studying across a range of disciplines including youngsters involved in its Saturday Arts Club and adult learners taking evening classes.
College principal Professor Andrew Brewerton said: "The number of people seeking a high quality education that will set them up for a creative career is rapidly growing and we can see that there is the demand for these new facilities from the increase in enrolments on our crafts courses.
"The new building and equipment embraces all areas of contemporary crafts and it will be a fantastic edition to the extensive range of specialist facilities that the college already has."
The project is anticipated for completion in time for the start of the 2013 academic year next September.