University of Leicester building wins new accolades

Posted by pt91 at Jun 01, 2011 10:23 AM |
Judges pay tribute to high standards
University of Leicester building wins new accolades

Credt: Martine Hamilton Knight Photography.

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 1 June 2011

A University of Leicester building which recently underwent a £17m redesign has triumphed in two major awards events.

The Percy Gee Building, which houses the Students’ Union as well as a number of University services, was selected as winner of the 'Best Large Commercial Development' and was a finalist in 'Best Education Development' at the Local Authority Building Control Regional Awards. The award was presented in 'recognition of high standards of design, construction and workmanship'.

At a separate event, Scott White and Hookins, the Structural Engineers on Percy Gee, were Highly Commended in the Building Structures (Small Consultancy Firm) category of the national awards of the Association of Consulting Engineers. The major achievement was to ‘deliver major refurbishment and alterations to a students’ union building, whilst allowing normal activities to continue during operation.'

Professor Helen Atkinson, Chair of the Percy Gee project redevelopment team, said: “We are really thrilled to receive the LABC Award, which commends the high standards of design, construction and workmanship by our architects Shepheard Epstein Hunter and our contractor Morgan Sindall. The Award also recognises the contribution which Building Control at Leicester City Council have made on this highly complex and demanding project. We were up against stiff competition so were delighted to win.

“We took into account students’ views throughout the planning of this development and their needs and expectations have shaped the physical development of the space. Ultimately, we have a building that is fit for purpose now and for the future.”

The multi-million pound new development transformed a building with 35 different floor levels over five storeys into a state-of-the-art facility. The transformation project, designed by architect Shepheard Epstein Hunter and constructed by Morgan Sindall plc, has changed the Percy Gee into a thriving multi-purpose Union building at the entrance to the campus.

A stunning new central atrium bathed in natural light and incorporating a social meeting place forms the centrepiece of the new development. It includes a new terrace with panoramic views over the City, new Activities Resources Centre and new restaurant called  ‘1923’ after  the year the Students’ Union was founded. The building boasts a clutch of environmental features.

In addition a 1,750 capacity live music and club venue, the O2 Academy, with additional venues, O2 Academy2 Leicester (500 capacity) and O2 Academy3 (for 250 patrons) is a highlight of the facility.

There are new shops and improved Accommodation Agency, Welfare Advice Service and  Education Unit services among a host of other facilities.

The Percy Gee Project has already won the 2010 Leicester Civic Society Award for Architecture complementing the Historic Built Environment of the City of Leicester. The Civic Society panel found ‘An exciting new building constructed on an extremely difficult and sensitive site almost ringed by listed buildings in the University Campus and the historic parkland of the Welford Road Cemetery. The building is large and of a striking design yet manages to be almost unobtrusive in its setting.’

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