Northumbria Uni nursery wins top award

The building, home to the Northumbria University Nursery, has won a design award in recognition of its new premises

The £1.5m nursery building has won the 2013 Lord Mayor’s Design Award in the Small Scale Development category.

The bi-annual awards aim to encourage, promote and publicise excellence in architecture and environmental design. Awards are given to outstanding projects in the fields of landscape design, architecture, conservation, refurbishment, housing and sustainability.

The nursery building, which opened in 2012, allows access for parents and carers by bio-metric fingerprint. Its design incorporates ‘green’ features including sensor and dimmer light technologies to enhance natural light use and reduce unnecessary energy use, and the roof has been planted with sedum to encourage wildlife and fitted with photovoltaic cells to help reduce energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions.

The Lord Mayor’s Design Award judges felt the nursery’s building design was simple but effective and heaped praise on the layout and economic use of materials. The judges were also impressed by the sustainability of the building which achieved a ‘very good’ environmental BREEAM rating.

Damon Kent, Director of Campus Services at Northumbria University, said: “This is an excellent achievement for the Nursery, the University and the design team from Ryder Architecture. The nursery is the latest project in our continued improvement of the campus which has seen the University invest over £100m in the last six years.”

The Lord Mayor’s Design Award success comes on the back of the nursery team winning the Nursery World Business Development Award 2013 in October, beating competition from two London-based nurseries.

Since moving to the new Northumbria University Nursery building the team has been able to expand its services to parents and children. This has included extended opening hours and the provision of school-holiday care. The building also provides University students with a practical setting to provide hands-on experience and complement teaching on the Early Years degree programmes.

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