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)



HEDQF were delighted to be asked by the Association of University Directors of Estates to produce a film celebrating 25 years of the Association.  Directed by film maker, architect and HEDQF trustee Rod McAllister the film had a Royal Premiere at the AUDE Annual Conference held at Manchester Metropolitan University in April, under the watchful eye of HRH. Prince Andrew. The audience included  assembled AUDE delegates from across the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and USA. Featuring old and new universities from across the UK it demonstrated how the HE built environment has changed dramatically over the last 25 years. Interspersed with interviews with Directors of Estates, the Chair of HEDQF and students the film was very well received and has already attracted 275 views on Youtube.


Click here to see it for yourself!

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 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 the Briefing Note 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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