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Headline

Has the university building gold rush run its course?

Comment

This article asks the question: Has the university building gold rush run its course? The answer, in short, is no, especially as continued demand for dynamic and innovative universities will remain a constant. The change is where that investment is happening and what the next steps of University Estate evolution might be. The future, it seems, lies in the past: many universities have a high proportion of historic building stock that is either reaching end of life or has long been overlooked for fear of rising budgets or heritage restrictions. From the medieval cloisters of collegiate campuses to post-modern endeavours of the ‘plate glass universities’, campuses across the UK are home to what could be the next gold rush: maximising potential out of existing structures. Existing (many listed) structures can be seen as a burden, but in fact are often much beloved by staff, students and visitors and can be assets. If new build commissions are drying up this isn’t bad news for architecture, as creative and innovative development of existing buildings can produce equally impressive results as new-build, whilst also promoting sustainability and appreciation of cultural heritage. And successful refurbishment of historic university buildings is nothing new; great success can be seen at the Grade II* Blue Boar Quad at Christ Church, the Grade II listed Weston Library, and the Grade II listed University of Sheffield Arts Tower. The key is understanding what you’ve got: understanding the value of these buildings will in turn reveal how to maximise their potential.

Posted date

15 February, 2019

Posted time

5:11 pm

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