Left (top and bottom): Wilkins Terrace (photo credit: Levitt Bernstein). Right: Simon Sainsbury Centre (photo credit: Hufton+Crow)
Left (top and bottom): Wilkins Terrace (photo credit: Levitt Bernstein). Right: Simon Sainsbury Centre (photo credit: Hufton+Crow)

2019 Civic Trust Awards

Last week’s Civic Trust Awards ceremony held at the Imperial War Museum of the North, saw HEDQF members garnering a slew of Awards and Commendations.

Of particular note was Founder Member Cambridge University picking up two awards for their Storey’s Field Centre/Eddington Nursery and the Simon Sainsbury Centre at the Judge Business School. The latter was designed by HEDQF Founder Member - Stanton Williams.

Founder Member UCL scooped an award for their  Wilkins Terrace project at the Grade 1 listed Wilkins building in Bloomsbury. Designed by HEDQF member Levitt Bernstein, this elegantly crafted and sensitive intervention has transformed a former service yard into a fine piece of public realm.

HEDQF were also represented north of the border with Founder Member, the University of Edinburgh picking up a well deserved award for Page and Park’s (member) beautiful remodelling of St.Cecilia’s Concert Hall and in Wales, Grimshaw (member) won an award for Bangor University’s Arts and Innovation Centre.

Other HE recipients were The London Business School, St.Peters College Oxford and the Royal Academy of Music.

Commenting, Julian Robinson Chair of HEDQF said: “It was a pleasure to attend these awards and see the HE sector recognised for its civic contribution to the built environment.“

University of York - Central Hall and Campus West landscape receive Grade II listing.

(January 2019)


The University of York’s Central Hall, Derwent College, and Campus West landscape have been Grade II listed by Historic England.   


Historic England describes Central Hall as having a “striking and bold design”, heralding “the beginning of contemporary university planning in Britain” and continuing the historic tradition of the earlier ‘red-brick’ universities in featuring a great hall for special events. The University’s Campus West was noted for its “high-quality post-war university landscape that fulfils the architects’ masterplan vision of creating a town in miniature with a pedestrianised environment.” 


Historic England said that the mostly unaltered landscape of Campus West had a design that successfully integrated the new landscape with the historic Heslington Hall gardens. 


See the University of York’s press release for full details.

AJ article asks "Has the university building gold rush run its course?" (January 2019)


University spend on capital projects over the past five years was the subject of a recent feature in Architects’ Journal. The article by Richard Waite posed the question ‘Has the university building gold rush run its course?’ 


HEDQF Chair Julian Robinson commented: 

“While there is still a relatively long tail of higher education development in the pipeline, the halcyon days of [university] capital development are certainly over, in my view.”


Though the “distinct nervousness in the sector” can be attributed to many factors differing widely between institutions, uncertainty around Brexit and the pending review of post-18 education led by former investment banker Philip Augar are causing universities to become jittery about continuing to invest so heavily in their estates.


The full article can be viewed on the Architects’ Journal website.

Congratulations to Ann Allen MBE


We were delighted to hear the news that Ann Allen, Executive Director of Estates and Commercial Services at the University of Glasgow, an HEDQF Founder Member, was awarded the MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List, for services to higher education.


Ann Allen joined the University of Glasgow in 2012. On hearing of the award she said: “I am both surprised and humbled by this award. I believe what we are achieving at University of Glasgow’s Gilmorehill campus is truly transformational, both in the masterplan and the way we are trying to deliver it. The Estates Directorate is there to support all the amazing work of our students and researchers and that is where the recognition should be. Whilst I get the honour, it should actually be for the whole Directorate as due recognition to the incredible estates team that is contributing so much to the success of the University.”


Ann also has roles in SAUDE/AUDE and is involved in Construction Scotland, Women in Property, and acts as a trustee of the Museum of Scotland.


AUDE – upcoming events


AUDE Annual Conference 15th - 17th April  Lancaster University


AUDE Summer School – 24th – 27th June University of Warwick

Higher Education Design Quality Forum Appoints New Trustee


HEDQF is delighted to announce that at its most recent meeting of Trustees, Aleksandra ‘Sasha’ Krstanovic was appointed to the Board.


AECOM Director Sasha will bring over 24 years’ experience in sustainable design and building engineering to the HEDQF Board, and her joining will further strengthen the depth and breadth of experience and representation at Trustee meetings.  


Commenting on the appointment, HEDQF Chair Julian Robinson said:


“We are fortunate to have secured the services of another leading woman in the design and construction sector and look forward to benefitting from Sasha’s knowledge, passion and presence on the Board.” 

HEDQF’s first book ‘Future Campus’ sells out

22 Nov 2018


RIBA have confirmed the original print-run of 900 copies has sold out and they have now re-printed twice! The book, edited by Ian Taylor, retails at £42 and had sold 1096 copies by March 2018.


Commenting HEDQF Chair Julian Robinson said “This is a remarkable achievement and demonstrates the quality of the publication and the strong demand for titles focussing on the future design of a high profile sector.  The case studies detailing best practice from around the world have proved particularly popular”.


To order a copy of Future Campus - ISBN 9781859466100 visit the RIBA Bookshops website:

University Clients Recognised


At the recent Building Awards dinner held on 6th November, half of those shortlisted for ‘Client of the Year’ were universities, demonstrating the importance of the sector in UK design and construction. HEDQF was delighted three of its Founder Members : Glasgow, LSE and Manchester were featured.  Although huge congratulations must go to the NHS Christie Hospital who were named overall winner.

Photo credit: Diane Auckland
Photo credit: Diane Auckland

It’s all about the student experience


The first phase of work on a pioneering new sports centre, designed by FaulknerBrowns Architects for the University of Oxford, featuring the UK’s first LED lit glass sports hall surface, has been completed and handed over to the university.


The innovative playing surface allows the marking lines for a variety of sports to be switched on individually via a touch screen, making it much easier to identify the boundaries of the court or pitch. The Acer Nethercott Sports Centre is a new addition to the university’s iconic Iffley Road Sports Complex, the scene of another ground-breaking first, the breaking of the four-minute mile in 1954 by Roger Bannister. Representing phase one of a major redevelopment masterplan for the complex, the centre includes the four court Acer Nethercott Sports Hall, changing rooms, reception, café, and a multi-purpose sport and fitness room.


Subsequent phases of the FaulknerBrowns masterplan include further development of the sports complex to include an additional sports hall, new activity rooms, dojo, fencing sale, squash courts, redevelopment of the grandstand with cricket nets and projectile room, and improved support for the athletics track.

Elsewhere in higher education, Middlesbrough Council has approved plans for a new Student Life Building designed by FaulknerBrowns for Teesside University. The proposals will consolidate all student-facing support, wellbeing and information services within a central location at the heart of the Middlesbrough campus to improve accessibility and the overall student experience. The project forms part of Teesside University’s ten year masterplan and estates strategy, also by FaulknerBrowns.


The building, to be constructed by Willmott Dixon, will house a range of student-centred and student-led spaces, providing information and services to inspire and empower success in learning and life. The building will be a technology-enabled environment, supporting a variety of learning styles, activities and attendance patterns. It will offer a range of flexible spaces, enabling social and collaborative learning, as well as an information zone, consulting rooms, syndicate rooms, accommodation for student welfare, disability services and a café.


University of Oxford, FaulknerBrowns Architects and Willmott Dixon are all Founder Members of the Higher Education Design Quality Forum.

Trinity College Dublin
Trinity College Dublin

Design clearly matters for HE


The HEDQF Founder Member (FM) category is now closed.  A last minute flurry of new members has seen the number of FM’s increase to 81. With some of the biggest names in the sector becoming FM’s, HEDQF has a nationwide reach which now includes Ireland north and south.


Recent University FM’s include: Brunel, Edinburgh, Keele, Kent, Surrey, Trinity College Dublin and Warwick. Consultants and contractors include: Mace, Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, Savills, Stanton Williams and Troup Baywaters and Anders.


 “As the University of Warwick embarks on an era of transformation and renewal of its campus facilities and landscape, the HEDQF will provide a valuable forum to exchange ideas, views and potential solutions to assist in re-imaging and creating a campus to enable Warwick’s future success.”

(James Breckon, Director of Estates)


“HEDQF facilitates university clients, designers and constructors to discuss and debate design concepts and future trends within the Higher Education sector, and to continuously improve the design and functionality of future buildings through guided visits to recently constructed facilities. The University of Kent is therefore proud to be a Founder Member of HEDQF to help advance these aims".

(Peter Czarnomski, Director of Estates)


Annual membership of the Higher Education Design Quality Forum is open to universities and built environment professionals whose professional expertise will contribution to the development of an understanding of design and its impact on Higher Education.

University of Roehampton – Chadwick Hall
University of Roehampton – Chadwick Hall

WOW – Stirling Effort! (23 July 2018)


No less than half of the buildings shortlisted for this year’s RIBA Stirling Prize have university clients!

  • The University of Roehampton’s - Chadwick Hall
  • Oxford University’s - Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre 
  • Cambridge University’s - Storey’s Field Community Centre and Nursery


See  for more details.


Commenting, HEDQF Chair Julian Robinson said, “This is simply unprecedented and demonstrates universities are one of the most important patrons of the best architecture in the UK.”  He noted that all three universities are long term members of HEDQF and have track records of achieving high quality design in their estates.  


Dr. Ghazwa Alwani - Starr, Director of Property at the University of London, HEDQF Trustee and former Director of Estates at the University of Roehampton said: “I am delighted that the projects at Roehampton have been recognised for their design excellence. As a team, our aim was to create buildings and landscapes that our students and staff loved. To achieve this we prioritised careful selection of the teams we worked with, design quality and construction materials; simple as it sounds, the rest just followed."

Photo credit: Simon Fraser
Photo credit: Simon Fraser

Ricky Burdett Opens University 2040 (3 July 2018)


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.

HEDQF West Country visit, June 2018


On 7 and 8 March, the Forum visited the University of Plymouth on day one and then, on day two, the Penryn Campus in Cornwall which is the joint home of Falmouth and Exeter Universities.


The day at Plymouth included a presentation from host, Trevor Wills (Director of Estates), about the history of the university, facts about the city, and recent developments including the recently-adopted new masterplan for the Plymouth campus which signifies an investment programme of circa £250m. The campus tour included visits to  -  the Roland Levinsky Building which is a £34m award-winning facility for many arts disciplines, the Immersive Vision Theatre where delegates were taken on a planetarium-style experience to consider areas of current research including sustainability, the £19m Marine Building opened in 2012 as a high-technology research facility housing wave tanks and flumes, and The Rolle Building, opened in 2012 which is intensively used for teaching activity and offers spectacular views across the city.


Following a Trustee’s Board Meeting, dinner on Plymouth waterfront and an overnight stay, the study group took a coach to the Penryn campus.  In the Tremough Innovation Centre, Dominic O’Neill (Head of Projects) gave a presentation on the successful creation of the campus 15 years ago describing the exciting developments that have occurred since that time. The current masterplan identifies further growth and visits were made to many facilities including those run by each university as well as those which are shared. These included the new renewable energy building (REEF), the AIR Building (Academy of Innovation & Research), the Daphne du Maurier Building, and the beautiful external spaces across the campus.


HEDQF is grateful to Trevor Wills and Jackie Lee of Plymouth University Estates Department for hosting and organising this visit and to Mace and Stride Treglown for their kind sponsorship. 

HEDQF feature in AUDE 25th Anniversary Book.


This handsome tome includes an introductory essay, written by HEDQF Chair Julian Robinson on the development of university design over the last 25 years.


The hardback publication, which has been sent to all Vice Chancellors and Director’s of Estates, celebrates the first 25 years of  AUDE - Association of University Directors of Estates and contains entries from over ninety UK universities.


Buy the book here.

The Big Conversation, 25 years in Higher Education


This year Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE) celebrates its 25th Anniversary and as part of the events will be hosting the annual ‘Big Conversation’ conference on 25th January 2018, at Liverpool Hope University’s Creative Campus. 


For over two decades, AUDE has supported innovation and best practice in university estates and facilities. The association provides resources, events, training and a network for discussion and knowledge sharing among university directors of estates and their deputies. 


January’s event will look at lessons learned across the sector in the last 25 years, focusing on higher education estate management and how these can be applied by directors of estates in building the universities of the future. It will also consider how estates can reach their commercial potential to influence their financial profile and explore how people, place and culture have evolved in the sector.


Mike Clark, AUDE’s chair, and director of estate & facilities management at the University of Brighton said: “We’re delighted to be presenting the Big Conversation event for the second year running. Providing the right environment is crucial to attracting staff and students both from the UK and internationally. We hope everyone involved can share innovations and best practice to help us make improvements across the sector, so that universities can continue to provide the best learning environments for the next generation of students.”


Attendees will include directors of estates from UK institutions, as well as representatives from suppliers to the sector such as the event sponsor, Broadway Malyan. It will be a day of discussion and reflections from institutions and careers. The format will allow for debate and idea sharing among members of estates teams around the country; with input from speakers such as Professor Janet Beer (Vice - Chancellor of Liverpool University and President Elect of UUK).


Visit for more information and to buy tickets online.

Higher Education Design Quality Forum Appoints Five New Trustees


HEDQF is delighted to announce the following have been appointed to the Board of Trustees:

  • Dr Ghazwa Alwani-Starr, University of London
  • Emma Keyse, Overbury
  • Fiona Bell, University of Portsmouth and AUDE
  • Ian Caldwell, King’s College London
  • Heidi Corbet, Hawkins\Brown

These appointments will significantly strengthen the depth and breadth of experience and representation on the Board. Four out of the five Trustees are women in senior roles across a wide range of disciplines, which will make HEDQF more representative and inclusive. Three are from the Higher Education sector.


Commenting on the appointments HEDQF Chair Julian Robinson said:


“HEDQF aims to be a multi-disciplinary and cross sector forum, the latest round of appointments is a big step forward in achieving my aim of improved gender and HE balance on the Board. The perspective, skills and experience these individuals possess will be of great benefit to the organisation.”


Dr.Ghazwa Alwani-Starr one of the new Trustees and Director of Estates at the University of London added:


“I am delighted to join the HEDQF as a Trustee to support its activities in promoting the value of well-designed University buildings and facilities. The HEDQF brings University professionals and industry advisers together in a network that promotes knowledge exchange and continuous improvement and I look forward to contributing to its efforts.”

Credit: Craig Sheppard
Credit: Craig Sheppard

King's College scoops architecture award for new hotel project (Oct 2017)


King’s College London scooped an architecture award for a hotel it recently developed in London’s popular Borough Market area.


King’s College London won ‘Built Winner 2017’ in the Hotels & Hospitality category of the New London Architecture (NLA) awards for its development of the hotel on Borough High Street. The hotel was designed on behalf of King’s by LTS Architects and was one of 32 winning schemes in a shortlist of more than 150 projects. LTS Architects also designed Science Gallery London at London Bridge, which includes the regeneration of an historic courtyard and will be completed in 2018.


King’s owns the site near Borough Market but due to the size and shape of the former buildings and restrictions on the Grade II listed property, the site was not suitable for academic usage so was re-developed to provide the hotel, three retail units and a residential flat and the creation of external public realm areas that linked back to the historic grain of the area. A gym for King’s staff and students has also been included. The hotel was completed in Spring 2017 and is now operated by Premier Inn.


The Borough High Street Hotel is a sensitive and sustainable redevelopment of a historic site, which was carefully considered by LTS Architects to be sympathetic to the site’s early heritage. The architects were also responsible for hitting targets aimed at reducing energy use and carbon emissions. Sustainability was embedded throughout the design, starting with the responsive façade treatment, which uses deep reveals and external fins to prevent unwanted solar gain. The main hotel has achieved an Energy Performance Certificate rating of 23 (or A). 

© FaulknerBrowns
© FaulknerBrowns

Approval for Durham University Centre for Teaching and Learning by FaulknerBrowns (Oct 2017)


Durham County Council has approved a planning application by FaulknerBrowns Architects, on behalf of Durham University, for the addition of a new state-of-the-art Centre for Teaching and Learning.


The building, at Lower Mountjoy, will host a wide range of learning environments and technologies, including new classrooms that will allow students to share courses in real time with students from peer institutions around the world. There will be lecture theatres, teaching rooms, education laboratories where new teaching and training methods will be developed, student learning zones and catering facilities. Outside of the academic term, the building’s facilities will allow the University to host major events and academic conferences. 


The site lies adjacent to the Durham City Centre conservation area and is in close proximity to views of the Durham Cathedral UNESCO World Heritage Site. The design for the building has been carefully considered to respond to the existing context - including the local scale and character of the architecturally or historically important buildings close to the site. In consultation with the Local Planning Authority the design team has developed a modularized massing strategy to create a sensitively scaled development, sympathetic of its local context.  The modular building concept – a kit of parts – consists of twelve blocks of equal size and scale; each oriented individually in response to the site.


The materials proposed provide a transition between the modern University buildings nearby, and the more traditional and classical architecture of the buildings that are adjacent to the site. The facilities will provide a welcoming, secure and stimulating environment for students, with learning environments that range from active to quiet, and group to individual, as they move throughout the building.


Andrew Kane, Partner at FaulknerBrowns, said: “With a diverse range of world class environments, the Lower Mountjoy Centre will provide an exciting new venue to enhance the teaching and learning experience at Durham University.“

Credit: Ben Blossom
Credit: Ben Blossom

UCL unveils latest reinterpretation of historic campus (Oct 2017)


University College London (UCL) has unveiled the latest milestone projects within its Transforming UCL programme: Wilkins Terrace and Lower Refectory.


Located at the heart of the Bloomsbury campus, these two new spaces provide amenity for the whole university community: outdoor events space, a new refectory and east-west pedestrian link across the main campus.


Delivered by UCL Estates and designed by Levitt Bernstein and Burwell Deakins respectively, these spaces deliver classic, historically sensitive architecture and innovative user-led design to provide quality new student space on campus.


Further details about the two projects can be found in the links below:


Levitt Bernstein - Wilkins Terrace

Burwell Deakins - Lower Refectory

New Founder Members Increase Reach of HEDQF


The Higher Education Design Quality Forum is pleased to announce the following have become Founder Members:

  • Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE)
  • Queens University Belfast
  • University of London


Julian Robinson Chair of HEDQF commented:


“With the inclusion of Queens University Belfast and the federal University of London (comprising 18 constituent HEI’s) we can truly say we are a UK wide organisation. The inclusion of AUDE which represents UK Directors of Estates is hugely significant and we are delighted to have them on board. We look forward to supporting their work and collaborating on areas of mutual interest.”


HEDQF now has 26 Higher Education Founder Members located across the UK.  Complimenting the HE founder Members are 30 companies specialising in design and built environment, in the fields of: architecture, engineering, cost management, town planning, project management and construction. 

University of Bristol's refurbishment of 8-10 Berkeley Square awarded BREEAM "Excellent"


University of Bristol, Capital Projects, is delighted to announce that the Grade II and Grade II* refurbishment of 8‐10 Berkeley Square has achieved a rating of ‘Excellent’ under the BREEAM UK environmental performance standard. 


This is particularly satisfying as “Excellent” is a rating often beyond the reach of refurbishment projects.  Even more impressive when achieved for a historical building refurbishment that had numerous conservation restrictions and limitations.


After being shortlisted at the BREEAM 2016 awards for the project’s environmental performance at the design stage, there was a real determination from the design, construction, managing and client team to achieve “Excellent at the post-construction review and included an “Innovation Credit”. 

Photographer: Richard Haughton
Photographer: Richard Haughton

RCA @ White City (5 Sep 2017)


Opening in September 2017, the White City site is the newest addition to the RCA campus, and is equipped with state of the art bespoke studio, workshop and technical spaces that have been designed particularly for RCA students. With signage designed by Dean of Communication Professor Neville Brody, the site adds a new dimension to the College's cultural offer, with opportunities for collaborations, exhibitions and events.


Think iDEA were the designers and Overbury principal contractor. 

South Coast Universities – Good Sports! (4 Sep 2017)


The University of Portsmouth has selected the team that will design its new state-of-the-art indoor sports centre.

FaulknerBrowns Architects, an award-winning firm who won Sports and Leisure Architect of the Year’ at the 2017 Architect of the Year Awards, were selected following an internationally competitive procurement process. They will lead the team who will deliver the £50 million new sports facilities that form part of the University’s Estate Master Plan.


The building, to be situated on the University's campus in Ravelin Park, will combine an eight-lane swimming pool, a fitness suite, sports hall, climbing wall and squash courts. It will provide first-class sports facilities for training, recreation and competition, and designs will also consider other requirements such as its use for social occasions, exhibitions and events.


The architects have challenging sustainability targets including minimising the building’s carbon footprint. The finished building will be flexible and adaptable to cater for a range of activities and to future-proof the building for years to come.


University Vice Chancellor, Professor Graham Galbraith, said that the aim is to have a building that both the University and the wider city community can feel proud of. 

£28m Southampton Solent University Sports Building Gets Go Ahead (22 Aug 2017)


ArchitecturePLB’s new sports building for Southampton Solent University’s city centre campus has received planning permission from the City Council. 


Work on the £28 million scheme will begin on site this month, and marks the latest stage of ArchitecturePLB’s estate development plan, which will regenerate the main East Park Terrace campus over a twenty-year period. 


The University’s sports facilities are currently located across a number of satellite sites both on and off of the East Park Terrace campus. The new building will unify these spaces and elevate the University’s standing, as well as serve and be welcoming to the local community. Facilities will include two sports halls with spectator seating, three fitness studios, a health and wellbeing gym, a strength and conditioning gym and high quality teaching facilities.


It will also support the university’s ambition to raise its standing in the British Universities and Colleges Sport league table for competitive university sport and facility provision, particularly basketball and netball. 


The scheme is scheduled to complete in summer 2019.  


“Starting work on the new sports building is great news for our students and staff, as well as our local community and the city. It forms the latest phase of our exciting, ongoing estates development, and it represents a further physical manifestation of our commitment to excellence in learning and teaching.” 

Professor Graham Baldwin, Vice-Chancellor, Southampton Solent University

Julian Robinson, LSE Director of Estates Appointed Chair of HEDQF (10 August 2017)


Julian Robinson has been appointed the new Chair of the Higher Education Design Quality Forum succeeding Prof. Philip Ogden of Queen Mary University of London on the 1st August 2017.


Trevor Wills, Director of Estates and Capital Projects at Plymouth University, joins Ian Goodfellow of Penoyre & Prasad as one of the two Deputy Chairs.   


Julian commented:


HEDQF is indebted to Philip Ogden for his outstanding leadership over the last two years. During this time we have secured charitable and limited company status and Philip’s stewardship has ensured we have record levels of membership, a full events programme and a strong financial basis.  I am honoured to be following in his footsteps.  Building on these achievements I want to focus on the following areas:

  • Improving the diversity of the Board of Trustees/Directors
  • Strengthening our partnership with the Association of Directors of Estates (AUDE)
  • Enhancing the HEDQF website and members’ resources area        
  • Developing support for an ongoing research programme
Image credit: Grafton Architects / Picture Plane.
Image credit: Grafton Architects / Picture Plane.

LSE's Marshall Building gets planning permission

(15 June 2017)


We are pleased to report that Westminster City Council have resolved to grant Planning Permission for 44 Lincoln’s Inn Fields to be redeveloped as The Marshall Building.


Demolition (internal) is due to start this Summer, with project completion in early 2021.  Read the LSE press release or view the project web pages for more information. 

Making More of Modernism, FCBStudios, 14 June - 1 September 2017
Making More of Modernism, FCBStudios, 14 June - 1 September 2017

New Exhibition 'Making More of Modernism' opens at FCBStudios (13 June 2017)


As part of the London Festival of Architecture, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios are hosting an exhibition on ‘Making More of Modernism’.


Two of the practice's university building projects have been featured:



For full details of the exhibition click here.

HEDQF Commissioned to Produce 25th Anniversary Film (May 2017)


Produced by HEDQF Trustee, Rod MacAllister and film maker William Pine, this short film called AUDE@25, celebrates twenty five years of the Association of University Directors of Estates and traces the development of the higher education estate over this period. Featuring old and new universities across the breadth of the UK, this was premiered at AUDE’s 2017 Annual Conference in the presence of HRH Prince Andrew. This is HEDQF’s fourth film for AUDE and continues the positive partnership between our two organisations.


Click here to view the AUDE 25th Anniversary film on YouTube.

Viennese Waltz! (May 2017)


In a ground-breaking joint initiative, twenty-four members of HEDQF and AUDE travelled to Vienna in May to visit the recently competed WU (University of Vienna) Campus to the west of the city centre.


Close to the Prater public park, and next to the exhibition centre of Vienna, the campus features six main building complexes resting on approximately ten hectares. The master plan was created by BUSarchitektur under the guidance of the architect Laura Spinadel. The buildings were designed by architectural firms from Spain, the UK, Germany, Japan and Austria. The dominant element of the campus is the Library and Learning Centre, by the late Zaha Hadid. ‘The WU Campus is a special place for research and education with a unique atmosphere. This exceptionality shall be reflected in the countenance of its architecture. The university complex shall be a landmark radiating beyond the city limits. Its architecture shall be conceived as a subject of fascination’ - from the project brief.


The group received an introductory explanation of the masterplan then a two hour tour of the main buildings led by Felicitas Konecny. Obligatory Viennese cakes and coffee were followed by presentations by Mag.iur Chrostphe Kecht, Head of Campus Management and Professor Gerlinde Mautner who was a founder member of the WU campus concept ‘sounding board’ committee. Christophe provided the technical background to the project including procurement, area, costs etc. and Gerlinde outlined the design brief aspirations and a comparison with the final built campus; she illustrated her satisfaction with result by exhibiting the campus’ purpose-made coat hanger as the only example of design failure! Later that evening, the group, including Prof. Mautner, continued the discussion over dinner arranged at a traditional Viennese restaurant.


Given the success of this venture, it is hoped this will be the first of many future joint reference visits with AUDE. HEDQF is particularly grateful to Rod McAllister for arranging such a well organised, informative and enjoyable visit.  

Copyright: M Clayton
Copyright: M Clayton

The Challenges and Complexities of Academic Space (April 2017)

The sector continues to wrestle with the tension between open/collaborative spaces and traditional cellular offices. Academia is sometimes referred to as the last bastion of the old notion of an enclosed office. This can be a difficult and controversial subject and this timely debate held at Reading University featured case studies and experiences to illustrate good practice. For more information click here.” 


Read Briefing Note (BN05) here

Why you should join the Higher Education Design Quality Forum (10 February 2017)


LSE director of estates Julian S Robinson  talks about the reconstituted forum and its mission to promote high-quality architecture. For full article click here.

Jan 2017


HEDQF mentioned in Architects Journal ‘Post-war university buildings under threat’ news feature. For full article click here.

LSE Director of Estates and Deputy Chair of HEDQF receives RIBA Recognition (05 October 2016)


The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has recently announced the 2017 RIBA Honorary Fellowships.  Julian Robinson, LSE Director of Estates and Deputy Chair HEDQF has been elected as one of eighteen individuals from a diverse spectrum of backgrounds who will be presented with the prestigious award at a special event at the RIBA in early 2017.

The RIBA is a global professional membership body that serves its members and society in order to deliver better buildings and places, stronger communities and a sustainable environment.

Honorary Fellowships are awarded by the RIBA each year to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the quality of architecture.  Julian's track record runs from working with Hawkins Brown, Feilden Clegg Bradley, MJP Architects and Will Alsop at Queen Mary University to Grimshaw, O’Donnell + Tuomey, Rogers Stirk Harbour and Grafton Architects at the LSE, and shows a developing dedication to raising standards in the arena of university campus architecture.

The lifetime honour allows recipients to use the initials Hon FRIBA after their name.  For futher information please click here. 

AJ Retrofit Awards 2016 (24 September 2016)

Universities have again done well in the Retrofit Awards sponsored by the Architects Journal. As the AJ (15 September 2016) explains: ‘The Retrofit Awards celebrate the exemplary remodeling of existing buildings to extend the life of the built environment. These projects breathe new life into our built heritage, showcase architectural ingenuity and make significant energy savings while boosting building performance’. Two university schemes topped their relevant categories:

• The Cockroft Building at the University of Brighton won the Higher and Further Education category. Designed by HEDQF Founder Members Fraser Brown MacKenna Architects, with Willmott Dixon as main contractor, the budget was £20 million. The jury commented: ‘This is a bold project, particularly from a sustainability point of view – and model for future similar projects’.

• The Weston Library at the University of Oxford won the Listed Building over £5 million category. Designed by Wilkinson Eyre, with MACE as main contractor, the budget was £50 million. The jury commented: ‘An innovative approach to transforming an inwardly focused building into a welcoming library… sensitive choice of material palette and services have been thoughtfully integrated’.

HEDQF Book ‘Future Campus’ launched on 12 July 2016 at the Annual Conference (20 August 2016)

The new book ‘Future Campus’ edited by Ian Taylor was launched at the Annual Conference in July. Published by the RIBA, the book is written by academics, Directors of Estates, architects and other professionals. Many of the authors are members of HEDQF and the book sets out the contribution good design can make to the future of research, teaching and learning in a modern university. The book is very well-illustrated with photographs of campuses in many different countries.


Copies may be obtained from Riba Bookshops for £40.

Blavatnik School of Government. Photograph: Iwan Baan

RIBA awards 2016: academic buildings dominate list of UK's best architecture (28 June 2016)


Almost a quarter of this year’s RIBA winners are made up of university and college buildings. They include a stately barrel-vaulted student centre for Nottingham Trent University by Evans Vettori architects, a timber-clad medical research facility for the University of East Anglia by Hawkins Brown and the glacial wedding cake of the Blavatnik School of Government in Oxford by Herzog & de Meuron. Read the full story from The Guardian here...

Cockcroft Building, University of Brighton


Cockcroft Building shortlisted for the AJ Retrofit Awards (26 June 2016)


Fraser Brown Mackenna Architects are delighted that their Cockcroft Building for the University of Brighton, one of the largest retrofits of an occupied academic building in the UK, has been shortlisted in the Higher and Further Education Award category of AJ Retrofit Awards 2016. Unlocking the hidden value of the existing 10,500m2 building, they have significantly improved its environmental potential and enhanced it with the latest technology, including an aquifer thermal energy store that will lead to 57% reduction in energy demand and 59% reduction in C02 emissions. The awards will be held at The Brewery, London on the evening of the 14th September 2016. 

University buildings do well in the 2016 AJ100 Awards (12 June 2016)


Universities feature very prominently in the latest AJ100 Awards from the Architects’ Journal. The issue of 9 June 2016 shows how many of the most prominent practices in the UK have designed university buildings of great quality. 


The winner of ‘Building of the Year’ was the Weston Library at Oxford, designed by Wilkinson Eyre, and was the focus of an HEDQF visit to Oxford earlier in 2016. Also on that shortlist were the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute at King’s College London and The Enterprise Centre at the University of East Anglia.


‘Practice of the Year’ was awarded to Hawkins Brown and amongst their recent cited projects is the Bob Champion Research and Education Building at the University of East Anglia.


‘Fastest growing practice of the year’ was awarded to Zaha Hadid Architects and amongst their recently completed buildings in the UK is a new research centre for St Antony’s College Oxford, also the focus of a recent HEDQF visit.


Finally, the international importance of Higher Education is also apparent in the award of ‘International Practice of the Year’ to Grimshaw, amongst whose recent buildings is the MES Building at the University of New South Wales, Australia.


Philip Ogden


Bond Bryan gets the green light for the University of Sheffield’s Heartspace (23 May 2016)


HEDQF Founder Members, Bond Bryan’s latest project for the University of Sheffield has just received planning permission meaning work on site is expected to start in 2017 with a 2018 completion.


Following the establishment of a Development Framework by Bond Bryan’s Strategic Team, and a successful design competition entry, this third phase of the St George’s Campus redevelopment is the culmination of Bond Bryan’s work with the Faculty of Engineering.


The Engineering Heartspace will sit beneath a dramatic undulating glass roof structure, providing a unique space for the whole of the Faculty. The four-storey atrium, inserted between the Grade II listed Mappin Building and the 1885 Central Wing, will house new highly serviced laboratories, offices and a café, as well as providing a ‘collaboration space’ for students and staff from different departments.


A connection to Portobello Street will provide an additional destination on the pedestrian route that links a range of campus facilities including the Students’ Union, the Information Commons (Learning Centre) and the University’s tram stop.


The design responds to both the historical heritage of the site as well as the ambition of the Faculty. The contemporary curved roof design contrasts with the existing formal brick buildings, floating across the tops of the existing roofs and creating a clear distinction between the old and the new. However the design takes visual cues from the Mappin building’s original “Star of David” ventilation outlets with its own interlocking triangular glass and solid roof panels. The proposed new triangular steel tree columns are also deliberately positioned to frame key features of the existing buildings.


Matt Hutton, Associate Director and the project’s concept designer said, “We believe that the honesty, of having a highly-engineered roof adjacent to the historic brick walls and slate roofs of the existing buildings, is about celebrating the engineering of both the past and the present, inviting the building user to look at both in more detail. This surely is what renovation and conservation is about, engaging with the user and the wider public, bringing these buildings back to prominence.”


The Heartspace development will provide the University with a total gross internal floor area of around 12,400sqm of combined new build, refurbished and reconfigured existing space.


LSE reveals winner of their latest RIBA design competition for The Paul Marshall Building (May 2016)


Dublin based practice Grafton Architects have been selected as the winners of the competition to design 44 Lincoln’s Inn fields/the Paul Marshall Building, the next major building project of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).  


Six architectural teams were shortlisted for the School’s third RIBA design competition. Read more...


A view of the recent addition to St Antony's College, Oxford. Photo: Simon Fraser
A view of the recent addition to St Antony's College, Oxford. Photo: Simon Fraser

Zaha Hadid 1950-2016 (April 2016)


Members of the HEDQF share the general sadness at the untimely death of Zaha Hadid, one of the world’s most distinguished and distinctive architects who had made recent notable contributions to higher education design. She was recently awarded the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture.


As recently as 17 March 2016, members of the Forum visited Oxford and saw at first hand the remarkable new Investcorp Building for St Antony’s College. This houses part of the Middle East Centre, founded in 1957 and now one of the leading centres for teaching, research and publication on the region.  


On a tight site in North Oxford, the new building, completed in 2015 provides a 117-seat lecture theatre and more space for the expanding library and archive. The form of the building both inside and out and its typically challenging use of materials provides an extraordinary contrast with the adjacent Victorian brick villas. As Rowan Moore pointed out in the Observer (3 April 2016) in his appreciation of Zaha Hadid, ‘For her, in her person and her work, one feeling that Hadid rarely elicited was indifference’. The Investcorp building is likely, despite the competition, to become one of Oxford’s most remarkable recent buildings. It will also stand as a tribute to universities prepared to sponsor innovative and highly original designs.

LSE Design Competition News
LSE Design Competition News

LSE Design Competition News (February 2016)


The London School of Economics, one of HEDQF’s Founder Members, has released the six shortlisted designs for its next major new building project, The Paul Marshall Building on Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Images and details on how to vote can be found here.

Innovative retrofit of a 10,500sqm building shortlisted in the RICS Awards
Innovative retrofit of a 10,500sqm building shortlisted in the RICS Awards

Fraser Brown MacKenna’s retrofit of the Cockcroft Building at the University of Brighton shortlisted in the RICS South East Design Innovation Awards (February 2016)


In repurposing the Cockcroft Building at the University of Brighton, one of the largest retrofits of an occupied academic building in the UK, Fraser Brown MacKenna Architects were tasked with transforming a building designed in the atomic age into a research environment fit for the information age.

Read more on the project here



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