Preston City Counci has awarded planning permission to Hawkins\Brown’s £60 million student centre and campus square at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan)
The studio won the job in 2016, defeating rivals including Sheppard Robson, FCBS and Associated Architects in the final round of a RIBA-run contest that received more than 40 applications.
The 7,304m² student centre will provide a reception area, informal learning spaces and a student wellbeing support centre.
An adjacent 8,440m² campus square will offer flexible and adaptable spaces for a range of community, public, business and student uses. The project will also see improvements made to landscaping and the public realm in Adelphi Quarter.
Work could start on site in early 2019 and be completed during the summer of 2020.
Hawkins\Brown co-founder Roger Hawkins said the practice was ‘delighted’ to receive planning consent.
’The decision represents a key milestone in UCLan’s ambition to transform the quality of the existing campus by providing a new social heart for the university and new public spaces for the whole city,’ he said.
’Improving the identity and visibility of the university at this important location has been key to our approach – a building that embraces the city scale and positively contributes to Preston; with two new public spaces that stitch together city and university for a range of social functions and events that draw the city in.’
UCLan chief operating officer Michael Ahern said securing planning approval was ‘fantastic news’.
’It’s another significant step toward delivering a centre of learning where people of all interests and backgrounds can feel at ease, comfortable in their physical surroundings and supported in their academic, social and business aspirations,’ he added.
‘This project is of significant importance. Not only will it transform our campus but will positively contribute to the ongoing regeneration of Preston.’
Hawkins\Brown’s competition-winning design featured a large curved-glass façade, a biodiverse roof, LED lighting underfoot and a pavilion café bar.
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, while SimpsonHaugh and Partners and Reiach and Hall Architects were chosen in 2015 to design a new £30 million Engineering Innovation Centre for the university.