Stunning development at University of Leicester increases awards tally

Posted by pt91 at Oct 10, 2011 02:18 PM |
Percy Gee Building wins Design Excellence Award
Stunning development at University of Leicester increases awards tally

Credit: Martine Hamilton Knight Photography

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 5 October 2011

A stunning new £17 Million development at the University of Leicester that has won a clutch of awards since it was formally opened this year has picked up another prestigious accolade.

The Percy Gee Building, which houses the Students’ Union as well as a number of University services, won the Insider Media’s Design Excellence Awards to add to a RIBA commendation it received last week.

The Design Excellence Award was presented at a gala dinner that took placed at the East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham. The award is for ‘...developers and architects who have changed the face of the region’s landscape between 1st May 2010 - 30th April 2011 with innovative, design-led approaches to construction, design and development.’

Steven Pidwill, Director of architect Shepheard Epstein Hunter, said: “It’s great to see the organisers have recognised the value of good design in transforming existing buildings. The competition was stiff: a new civic headquarters building and a sustainable housing development – so the recognition of Percy Gee is all the more significant. This brings the number of shortlistings/ awards for the project to 17 since the beginning of the year.”

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.

As Freshers arriving at Leicester this week discovered, 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.’

Professor Helen Atkinson, Chair of the Percy Gee project redevelopment team, said: “We are really thrilled to receive these awards which commends the high standards of design, construction and workmanship by our architects Shepheard Epstein Hunter and our contractor Morgan Sindall.

“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.”


Note to Newsdesk: For more information, please contact Professor Helen Atkinson 0116 223 1019


Steven Pidwill

Shepheard Epstein Hunter

T 020 7841 7500

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