A new £27.5m building under construction at the University of Huddersfield will be named after one of the most inspirational figures in the town’s history.
The new home for the University’s Law School and the School of Music, Humanities and Media is scheduled for completion by the start of 2017 and will be dubbed the Oastler Building in tribute to Richard Oastler (1789–1861), who began a famous campaign to curb child labour and improve conditions for all workers in the new factories of the Industrial Revolution.
This will be the start of a project that sees many of the University’s key buildings renamed to commemorate famous people with connections to the University and its locality.
The University of Huddersfield already has one of its principal buildings named after locally-born-and-raised former Prime Minister Harold Wilson. It also has the historic Ramsden Building, which takes its name from the prominent local family which played a role in its construction in the 1880s.
Now it has been decided to rebrand principal buildings on the campus. University chiefs will now begin to draw up a list of prominent local figures with great historic reputations so that they have a pool of names to draw from. Candidates could include Prime Minister Herbert Asquith (1852-1928), or film star James Mason (1909-1984), son of a Huddersfield textile merchant.
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Tim Thornton, commented: “They will have a reputation in the areas that are important to us – to be inspiring leaders and entrepreneurs, innovative thinkers and inventors and people with international connections and impact.
“It will help us to project Huddersfield as a place to study, by strengthening the sense that this is a place with a strong tradition of excellence in a whole range of subjects. This is a part of the world that has a lot to be proud of and that is one of the reasons why people should come and study and develop their research here. We will celebrate this through the renamed buildings.”
Designed by AHR, the £27.5 million building will form part of the Queensgate campus and house the University’s Law School and part of the School of Music, Humanities and Media.
The six-storey building will include four 300-seat lecture theatres, tutorial spaces, offices, language labs and a Law Court, which have all been designed to fit in a floor area of 7,500sq m. Various departments are visually and physically connected by an atrium space which provides new and dynamic social spaces for staff and students.
The external façade will become the new recognisable face of the University. The curvaceous three-dimensional form of the building is defined by 42 architectural fins rising over the upper storeys, defining the architectural language of the new academic facilities and allowing glimpses into the building.
The Oastler building is set to achieve BREEAM ‘Excellent’ and the efficiency of the building will help reduce the long-term running and maintenance costs. A ‘living roof’ has been designed to help slow the rate of rainwater run-off by 70%, and will also help to filter air pollutants and noxious gases, improving air quality. AHR and the University has also committed to using local suppliers and materials, wherever possible, as part of the overall sustainability strategy for the project.