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Manchester Metropolitan University crowned 2014 Client of the Year

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Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) has been crowned this year’s RIBA Client of the Year

The university was put forward for the award by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBS) - the architect of its Stirling Prize-shortlisted Manchester School of Art. The practice had also nominated MMU last year for its role on the Business School project - but the university lost out to the National Trust.

Peter Clegg and Keith Bradley of FCBS said: ‘MMU’s briefs for both the School of Art and the Business School were clear from the outset - that the buildings should be flexible, sustainable, inclusive, uplifting and ‘iconic’. Fundamental to their success was strong governance, led by the vice chancellor, John Brooks who personally championed both projects.

‘Brookes is passionate about sustainability and has set ambitious targets for the university to cut its carbon emissions, leading them to the top of the universities’ ‘Green League ‘in 2013.

MMU want its buildings to be flexible, sustainable, inclusive, uplifting and iconic

They added: ‘The client at MMU was pivotal to delivering a pioneering and inspiring new buildings for their estate. Testimony to the importance they put on not only good design, but on the importance of relationship, are repeat commissions for the contractors, architects and engineers.’

The university was up against Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Argent for the annual award which recognises the key role that a good client plays in creating high quality architecture.

RIBA chief executive Harry Rich, commented: ‘We all know that strong collaboration between architects and clients is crucial to good architecture. It takes great courage and creativity to deliver quality architecture, so when a client brings these qualities to the table the chances of creating a great piece of architecture become much more likely. I am delighted that Manchester Metropolitan University has been recognised for its current and ongoing efforts as it continues to innovate and improve its estate.

‘The brave and exciting buildings they are commissioning will benefit this and the next generation of students who come to study in Manchester.’

Client of the Year 2014 shortlist

  • Arts Council Collection and Yorkshire Sculpture Park
  • Argent
  • Manchester Metropolitan University

Last year the Client of the Year award was picked up by The National Trust. The conservation charity was praised for amassing a ‘formidable portfolio of projects’ including Heneghan Peng’s 2013 Stirling Prize-shortlisted Giant’s Causeway visitor centre, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios’ RIBA Award-winning Chedworth Roman Villa and Cowper Griffith’s Stowe Visitor Centre.

Hammerson, The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, and the Olympic Delivery Authority have also previously been recognised by the award.

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