Winner of the best refurb project at Bricks Awards

The project includes: restructuring and refurbishment of a multi-storey library tower (MST) for the School of Law, linkage of the tower to the adjacent Peter Froggatt Centre (PFC) to form a new student hub, refurbishment of lecture theatres and classrooms within the PFC and re-facing of its elevations, new public realm encompassing a north-south campus link and entrance courtyard.

Work on the MST and integration of new and old presented particular challenges to effectively coordinate structure, services and fabric.

The uppermost storeys of the tower were demolished, the building stripped back to its frame, openings formed to create mini atria and a steel frame clipped onto each elevation to increase the developable footprint.

The complex is entered through the linkage between the MST and the PFC, identified as a triple height space with bridge links and used a café / exhibition area.

Classrooms and lecture theatres are located at lower levels, with PhD student and academic offices above arranged around the atria, that introduce natural light and act as informal meeting and study areas.

The building’s façades have been refaced in a restricted palette – red clay brickwork, glazed screens and bronze anodised panels. The patterning on each elevation responds to the historic context and particular orientation with broad brick reveals and extended curtain wall capping pieces provide a layering to the facades, echoing the Victorian detailing of neighbouring buildings.

Brick was a critical element in the façade design, in tying the scheme into its surroundings and the University’s historic Quad in particular, where brickwork predominates.

The appropriate brick choice presented its own challenges, where from research it was discovered that five differing types of brick had been used in the buildings surrounding the Quad!

The selection process involved the building of a number of sample panels (in differing brick types, imperial/metric sizes and jointing techniques) for consideration/approval by the planners and their conservation architect advisors. The brick eventually chosen was Wienerberger’s Lincoln Red, pole jointed.

The brick was generally laid traditionally, but brick slips secured to a proprietary backing board were also used to form soffits and glazed into the curtain walling on the PFC façade.

The brick aesthetic was carried through to the interior of the student hub, where vertical panels provide a colour and textural contrast to the white plastered walls.

www.brick.org.uk/brick-awards