HEDQF Fifth Annual Conference - 18 June 2019

HEDQF Fifth Annual Conference: Design for Wellbeing in Higher Education


When: 17th June (evening event), 18th June 2019 (conference)

Where: University of Edinburgh - Bayes Building47 Potterrow, Edinburgh EH8 9BT


Book tickets here


The fifth Higher Education Design Quality Forum (HEDQF) Annual Conference will be held at The University of Edinburgh Informatics Forum on the 18th June preceded by a reference visit to the Bayes Centre on 17th June.


The conference will be based in the Informatics Forum by Bennetts Associates adjacent to the newly-opened Bayes Centre, also designed by Bennetts Associates, which brings together academic staff and students working in the fields of Data Technology, Design Informatics, Maths and Robotics with start-up / spin-out companies and industrial collaborators and acts as a gateway into the university's campus at George Square.


Throughout the day we will consider why wellness is important in higher education and the role that design has to play, and wellness tools being used by universities, and in other sectors.


Programme (may be subject to change)

17th June - Bayes Building, University of Edinburgh

6pm-8pm:  Pre-conference registration and Drinks Reception – to include talks from:

  • Gary Jebb, Director of Estates at the University of Edinburgh on the masterplan and philosophy behind the Informatics and Bayes Buildings
  • Bennetts Associates, architects, on the design of the Informatics and Bayes Buildings
  • Page & Park, architects on the design of the new Student Centre at the University


18th June - Main Conference: Informatics Forum, University of Edinburgh

09:00   Registration & Coffee

10:00   Welcome and Introduction - Julian Robinson, Director of Estates LSE, and HEDQF Chair

10:05   Keynote talk - Why wellness is important, and the role of the built environment, drawing on the Health Education and Higher Education sectors -  Jim MacDonald, Chief Executive of Architecture and Design Scotland

10:25   Keynote talk - How individuals and organisations can bring about change in the way we live, work and create the built environment -  Marie Dariel, coach and consultant for Wellbeing

10:45   Questions and discussion

11:00   Discussion session - Client perspective ‘Different perspectives from university and other clients’ - Helen Groves, Atkins Global (Chair); Ann Allen, Executive Director of Estates and Commercial Services, University of Glasgow; John Curry, Capital Projects Manager, SRUC Property and Estates Group; Henry Pelly, Max Fordham; William Poole-Wilson, Will & Partners and the recent BCO Wellness Guide


What are other people/sectors doing?

12:00   Focus on recent research in wellness and what others are doing, e.g. in the USA - Oliver Milton, Hawkins\Brown

12:20   The new Kantor Centre of Excellence for the Anna Freud Centre for Children and Families in and the new eye care, research and educational facilities for Moorfields Hospital and the UCL Institute Ophthalmology – Ian Goodfellow, Penoyre ad Prasad

12:40   Lunch in the Informatics Forum, optional visit to McEwan Hall


Student Perspectives

13:40   Update on HEDQF research and outcomes of the 2019 HEDQF research survey results on student views of Student Life - Caroline Paradise, HEDQF Research Group Chair and Associate Director Infrastructure, Atkins

14:00   Student Panel from the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA) presenting recent work with discussion around the theme of ‘wellbeing’ – Professor Catharine Ward Thompson (Chair)

15:00   Tea/Coffee


Designers Perspectives

15:20   How can designers help?  An interactive discussion, chaired by Mike Entwisle, Buro Happold, with short presentations from:

  • Peter Fisher (Bennetts Associates;) - masterplanning
  • Jamie Anderson (Buro Happold) - tbc
  • Dominic Fleming (KSS) - sports
  • Alastair Brierley/Ian Pratt (Scott Brownrigg) - residences
  • Tazie Taysom (Artiq Art Consultancy) – art in the built environment

16:20   Conclusion – Where next?  What should HEDQF do?

16:30   Close

Annual Conference 2018: University 2040

When: 28 June 2018

Where: University of London


The fourth Higher Education Design Quality Forum (HEDQF) Annual Conference at University of London's Senate House was launched with a key-note speech by the LSE's Professor Ricky Burdett CBE. In a speech with a global perspective he urged the 185 delegates to design future universities which were open and strongly connected with the cities and communities in which they are located, addressing inequality, the environment, poverty, health and lack of opportunity in these communities.  


This was followed by presentations by universities in London, Bristol, Huddersfield and Budapest, several of whom were addressing this challenge. 


There then ensued a very lively debate presented by school pupils and students on the value of design, which concluded that whilst great buildings and facilities were important, it was the quality of teaching which counted most. Futurologist, Dr.Chris Leubkeman of ARUP continued the discourse with a thought provoking presentation before delegates worked together to decide what technologies and design priorities would be most important, in future university buildings. The conference then moved on to an evening reception and tour of the new Bartlett School of Architecture and its 2018 degree show to view the work of designers of the future.

Third Annual Conference held at the University of Sheffield on 5th July 2017

Breaking the Mould: Universities Supporting Industry, Enterprise and Innovation


UK Universities are again at a time of great change.  The Higher Education and Research Bill currently going through Parliament aims to improve the student experience, ensure that students receive value for money, allow more competition to universities and enhance the UK’s economy through increased productivity, research and innovation.  Even before BREXIT, initiatives such as the Government’s 2014 Local Enterprise Partnerships and Enterprise Zones were encouraging universities, manufacturing, innovation and enterprise to work together.  Post BREXIT, this will be even more important.

Credit: Simon Fraser
Credit: Simon Fraser
Credit: Simon Fraser
Credit: Simon Fraser

Over 170 Delegates at HEDQF’s 2017 Annual Conference explored the design of universities in this new role, with the conference based in Sheffield where the two universities have been instrumental in supporting the economic transformation of the city from its old industrial base into new fields through research, training and partnerships with design, engineering and manufacturing companies.


Keith Lilley, Director of Estates and Facilities from the University of Sheffield opened the conference in the “Diamond”, the University of Sheffield’s new £81 million undergraduate engineering building, with a description of the projects that support the university’s strategy to be the best engineering university in the UK, and therefore one of the best in the world, translating world class research into applications and jobs and building on Sheffield’s heritage as an engineering city. 


Investment in buildings is complimented by investment in the public realm, something that has also happened at Sheffield Hallam University where the conference was closed in the new Faculty of Development and Society Building by Lloyd Snellgrove, Director of Research and Innovation, who described Sheffield Hallam University’s enterprise strategy, which includes a complimentary focus on design and arts.

Credit: Simon Fraser
Credit: Simon Fraser

Sheffield University’s world-leading Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre has been developed in partnership with 90 companies from Boeing, Rolls Royce, BAE systems and Aerospace to small local companies.  Colin Sirett, CEO described its history from the closure of the old Orgreave Coking Plant to the transformation to the AMRC today while Jamie McGourlay from Rolls Royce explained the importance which Rolls Royce and other companies placed on strategic partnerships with the university, which enables manufacturing to remain in the UK, while future building designs, including Factory 2050, were described by Darren Southgate from Bond Bryan Architects


Reflecting that universities have to respond in different ways to  geographical constraints, the communities they serve and the local industrial and skills base, two entirely different situations were presented: the urban heart of London by Adrian Tindall from London South Bank University and campuses across different locations by Bernard Curren at the University of Plymouth.


Other universities are achieving change through the opportunities of new campuses.  Jane Bunce from the University of Northampton presented the vision for their Waterside Campus, in which learning and teaching would be transformed and in which there would be no formal lecture theatres, while Karsan Vaghani presented Cardiff University’s campus in Cathays which includes a new world-class facility to co-locate research teams from different subjects to support translational research, enabling the university to respond to new opportunities that are increasingly found at the boundaries of traditional disciplines. 

Credit: Simon Fraser
Credit: Simon Fraser

Roddy Langmuir and Peter Inglis from Cullinan Studio presented the design and construction of the National Automotive Innovation Centre at the University of Warwick, but with an added twist - how do you design a building for a client who is passionate about design and use of technology, in this case Jaguar Land Rover, and how do you ensure delivery of design excellence using a design and build construction contract?  Key to success, beyond novating the design team, are that all parties - especially the subcontractors - must be signed up to achieve quality and innovation in design, and that Chinese walls should have doors that can be briefly opened when needed. 


Stafford Critchlow and Yasmin Al-Ani Spence of WilkinsonEyre have a similar design challenge in working at the Dyson Campus in Malmesbury, where a long term relationship has been beneficial as buildings have altered and changed, including the bold creation of a private engineering university to train and retain the workforce of tomorrow.  It is not just the UK that is developing AMRC’s – the presentation included their project for the University of Melbourne in Australia. 

Credit: Simon Fraser
Credit: Simon Fraser

A highlight of the conference was a presentation and discussion by Daniel Jary, Head of Learning and Teaching and the studio leader for Studio: Collaborative Production at the School of Architecture at the University of Sheffield and Zak Nicoll, a Y6 MArch student, on the wide variety of imaginative and sustainable designs from students for future AMRC building, many of which create transparent connections with local communities.


Philip Ogden, Chairman of HEFQF, in introducing the conference, reflected on the huge investment made in UK universities, around £23.5 billion between 2004 and 2014, achieving a transformation to university buildings and campuses, a theme also covered in the recent film commissioned by AUDE to celebrate 25 years of its existence since polytechnics (including that which became Sheffield Hallam University) merged into the university sector: AUDE at 25.


The conclusion?  As Britain enters the post-Brexit era, the role of universities in supporting their local communities becomes even more important as are collaborations and partnerships between universities and design, engineering and manufacturing companies.  Many of the existing ones have been supported by EU funding – how will this be replaced?  If the UK is to retain its world-class reputation, universities and designers must continue to create innovative and high quality spaces and facilities and to think about new ways of doing things, whether it be new ways of teaching and learning or carrying out translational research to break down disciplinary barriers, something which HEDQF will support through its future research programme.


Many thanks to the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University for hosting the conference and to our sponsors, Overbury, Gardiner & Theobald and Bond Bryan Architects.

HEDQF’s 2nd Annual Conference: Future Campus – The University of the Future
12 July 2016

This successful conference, attended by over 200 delegates, asked the question “What will the university of the future look like?” when technology, society, the aspirations of students and the needs of researchers are changing and becoming ever more demanding in the competitive world while funding and cost of tuition continues to be a challenge. Students and staff expect well-designed, technology-rich, high quality facilities that reflect the identity of the university, while universities have a renewed focus on collaboration with a wide variety of organisations - locally, national and internationally. 


The Higher Education Design Quality Forum (HEDQF)’s Annual Conference for 2016 examined how universities and designers were  responding to these challenges, within the venue of the Granary Building, Central St Martins, University of the Arts London (UAL) in the major regeneration area of King’s Cross London. 


The conference considered examples of forward-thinking in London, elsewhere in the UK and internationally, and coincided with the launch of the new HEDQF-RIBA book Future Campus - Design Quality in University Buildings.

Book Launch



The launch of the RIBA / HEDQF publication, "Future Campus" took place at UAL after the 2016 Conference in 12 July.


The modern university takes many forms, with considerable contrasts in history, size and location, and in the balance between teaching, learning and research. Universities play a major role within their local communities in education, in their contribution to the economy and in generating a sense of pride and engagement.


Future Campus highlights how the physical space of the university and the quality of design of that space really matters and will help architects, design teams and university clients in their pursuit of practical and innovative solutions to creating places that enable effective and enjoyable teaching, learning and research. The book draws on a wide range of case studies from different higher education systems and includes the views of university academics, estate directors, architects and engineers involved in the creation of settings for university life.


If you would like to order the publication, further details can be found at the RIBA Bookshop.

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