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Hawkins\Brown picked for new Reading architecture school

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Hawkins\Brown has won the commission for the University of Reading’s new School of Architecture

The AJ120 2015 Employer of the Year-winner defeated a raft of unnamed rivals to land the publically tendered design contract worth around £678,175.

Planned to complete in 2018, the new faculty will occupy a 1970s concrete brutalist structure (pictured) known as the URS Building.

Hawkins\Brown will ‘reimagine’ the landmark which was originally designed by Howell, Killick, Partridge & Amis and currently hosts Reading’s School of Construction Management and Engineering.

Foundation professor in architecture Lorraine Farrelly said: ‘The retrofit of this well-known building on campus is a unique opportunity. While modernising the building is key to this project, it is important to respect the original design.

She continued: ‘Hawkins\Brown is very experienced at working with similar concrete structures and specialise in designing educational facilities across the UK. Our students will have an environment and experience that is second to none.’

Hawkins\Brown associate Adam Cossey said: ‘This is an exciting project and an opportunity to improve the thermal efficiency of the building envelope, while remaining sympathetic to its original design.

‘Simple decisions made at the early stages of a project can have significant impacts on the ultimate performance of a building so we will work closely with the University to establish clear targets in respect of its sustainability ambitions.’

The university’s first architecture students will enrol in September next year and the new school will initially be based on the university’s historic London Road campus.

Construction of the new architecture school building is expected to start in January 2017.

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