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Hawkins\Brown wins £60m UCLan student centre contest

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Hawkins\Brown has won a competition for a £60 million student centre and campus square at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in Preston

The studio defeated rivals including Sheppard Robson, FCBS and Associated Architects in the final round of the RIBA-run contest which received more than 40 applications.

The full shortlist

  • Associated Architects
  • Austin Smith:Lord
  • Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBS)
  • Hawkins\Brown
  • Nicholas Hare Architects
  • Sheppard Robson
  • Stanton Williams

The contest sought ‘imaginative’ proposals for a new 7,560m² student centre and adjacent square to be constructed on the site of Preston’s Adelphi roundabout (pictured) and the former Fylde Building.

The facility, planned as a ‘one stop shop’ for UCLan campus users, will include student areas, office space, shops and other frontline services. It is due to open in 2019.

Hawkins\Brown’s winning design featured a large curved-glass façade, biodiverse roof, LED lighting underfoot and a pavilion café bar.

Judge and RIBA adviser John Whiles of Jestico & Whiles said: ‘The variety of the seven finalists’ responses to the visionary brief were an excellent challenge to assumptions and expectations.

‘It was only after much debate that the panel eventually felt that the low, transparent, student-focused, pavilion approach proposed by Hawkins\Brown best captured the spirit of an interactive, catalytic, gateway building sought by the University of Central Lancashire.’

UCLan winner

University chair David Taylor said: ‘The standard of submissions was very high but it was Hawkins\Brown’s visually impactful, well thought-out design which won the day.

‘Hawkins\Brown demonstrated a true understanding of what students want and of the city of Preston, with the design referencing our industrial heritage. It is a firm that has extensive experience of partnering with universities and, importantly, the design will deliver on our ambition of drawing the university and city together like never before.’

Roger Hawkins of Hawkins\Brown commented: ‘We are tremendously excited about getting started on this project, testing some of our initial design ideas with students and staff from UCLan and with people from the city of Preston.’

The winning design team includes AECOM as project and cost manager, landscape architectsPlinck and lighting and art designer Jason Bruges. BDP will also be providing a range of multidisciplinary engineering services.

The project, at the heart of UCLan’s 15ha campus, is part of a £200 million programme to transform the university over the next 10 years. UCLan was founded in 1828 and formerly known as Lancashire Polytechnic. It is now the 19th largest university in the UK in terms of student numbers.

Among the practices to have already designed buildings on the UCLan campus is ADP, which completed the £12.5 million J B Firth laboratory building in 2011. SimpsonHaugh and Partners and Reiach and Hall Architects were chosen to design a new £30 million Engineering Innovation Centre for the university last summer.



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