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John Pardey's class act in Sussex

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John Pardey Architects has designed six new buildings for the University of Sussex. Founded in 1961, the original campus was laid out by Sir Basil Spence and is the largest collection of listed Modern buildings in Britain.

The university is in the process of reorganising itself as five 'schools'each headed by a new Dean.Following a limited design competition/interview in September 2002, John Pardey Architects was commissioned to create an entrance/focal centre for each school. Two are housed in Grade II*-listed Spence buildings, and three in unlisted 'post-Spence' buildings (mainly by his office). There is also a proposal for a large cafe/ exhibition/party space in the existing courtyard of the Grade II*-listed Pevensey Building.

John Pardey Architects set out to establish a common language which would respect and complement the existing language; create a sense of arrival and identity; create a light and welcoming front of house for each school; and 'brand'the university for the next generation.

The use of lightweight, elegant floating elements and the use of metal rather than masonry acts as a counterpoint to the heavy, monumental earthbound language of the existing buildings.

The project was presented to CABE in April and received its support. The Sussex Institute and School of Social Sciences gained planning permission last week. The remaining buildings are awaiting listed building consent. The Sussex institute will go on site in August with completion by Christmas.

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