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Hawkins\Brown wins University of Glasgow £31m College of Arts job

3017725 glasgow university masterplan aecom
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Hawkins\Brown has won a publicly tendered contract for a new £31 million College of Arts at the University of Glasgow

The AJ100 practice topped an undisclosed shortlist of six to win the project which is its first Scottish commission.

Planned to complete in 2022, the 17,000m² College of Arts will create a new combined home for the university’s School of Critical Studies, School of Culture and Creative Arts, School of Humanities, and School of Modern Languages and Cultures. It is part of the university’s £1 billion regeneration and expansion on to the site of the former Western Infirmary, masterplanned by Aecom and 7N Architects.

The faculty will house around 600 staff, 400 researchers and 6,500 students, bringing together facilities currently based at 34 different sites across the city. It will be constructed within the former hospital site, which neighbours the university’s 31ha Gilmorehill campus, on a site facing the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery.

College of Arts head and vice principal Roibeard Ó Maolalaigh said: ‘Our vision is to create a place that stimulates and supports critical thinking, innovative learning, engaging teaching, and world-class research. The new building will also provide a range of cultural and learning opportunities for our local community and the city of Glasgow as a whole. 

‘As well as offering an outstanding place to think, learn, teach and collaborate, our aspiration is that this building will support the health and wellbeing of our staff and students.

‘The Hawkins\Brown team demonstrated an excellent understanding of our brief to develop a creative thinking space which will act as an inspiration for the Arts and Humanities.

‘We are looking forward to working with the design team in a collaborative way, where we listen to all user groups to develop a building solution that meets their needs. We are excited to see our new building’s design develop over the coming months.’

Eleanor Magennis, project development manager for the College of Arts project, said: ‘The new College of Arts will be a gateway building connecting the university with the West End’s Cultural Quarter.

‘Our masterplan calls for a distinctive building of high architectural quality. This will be Hawkins\Brown’s first project in Scotland and they impressed us during the interview process with their experience, enthusiasm and engaging approach.’

The practice’s founding partner Roger Hawkins said: ‘We are delighted to be working on the exciting new College of Arts building for University of Glasgow to provide an inviting space that will ignite creativity and innovative thinking.

‘Key to our design was the potential exchange of cultural ideas for students, staff and the wider public of Glasgow.’

The appointment comes almost two years after the design contract was announced along with a separate contract to design a  £150 million chemistry and engineering complex, which has still yet to be awarded.

Other projects planned for the 5.6ha hectare former hospital include a £4 million Health and Social Sciences Institute by Atkins, a £40 million Research Hub by HOK, and a new £2.1 million home for the Adam Smith Business School by Hassell.

Five listed buildings on the site – The Chapel, Outpatients building, Macgregor building, Tennent Institute and Anderson College – will also be refurbished and converted for commercial uses including a hotel, restaurant, bars and cafés.

Outside the Western Infirmary site, HLM has drawn up plans for a new build Learning and Teaching Hub on nearby University Avenue.

The University of Glasgow relocated to Gilmorehill in 1870 from its original base close to the cathedral on the city’s historic high street. The university was handed possession of the former Western Infirmary site in 2016.

Campus structures include the towering George Gilbert Scott-designed main building and William Whitfield’s 1968 university library.

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