Places & spaces: June 2021

Anna Britten explores some of the most eyecatching and innovative new campus developments in the UK and beyond

Leeds Beckett University

Hollywood, eat your heart out. Leeds Beckett University’s (LBU) new, state-of-the-art £80m Leeds School of Arts building is now open for students and staff, subject to the latest government Covid-19 safety guidance.

It contains a professional-standard recording studio; 180-seat performance theatre; a 220-seat Dolby Atmos movie cinema; dedicated TV, film, green screen
and black box studios; editing suites; rehearsal and make-up rooms; and performance spaces.

Designed by the architects Hawkins\Brown and constructed by Downing, the specialist facility will serve over 2,500 film, TV, technology, sound, music, drama, dance, and fashion students and 100 staff.

While modern, the building’s exterior complements existing listed buildings in the city’s Civic Quarter. There are also two roof terraces with panoramic views across the city centre.

Take the virtual tour at


Nottingham Trent University

Knowledge exchange just got a stylish uplift at Nottingham Trent University (NTU), which is celebrating the completion of its £9m Dryden Enterprise Centre (DEC).

The four-storey building, constructed by Henry Brothers – alongside architects Evans Vettori – aims to connect industry and academics. It provides facilities and business support to staff, students, graduates, entrepreneurs, start-ups, small- to medium-sized businesses and larger enterprises.

The DEC building has been constructed to meet NTU’s sustainability credentials. Plants have been included to add oxygen, remove CO2 and promote wellbeing, and concrete was chosen for its thermal mass benefits.

The building was part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, who will continue to support the work of the DEC until March 2022.


Arts University Bournemouth

A vibrant £200,000 refurbishment project is under way at Arts University Bournemouth (AUB)’s Innovation Centre.

The work, being undertaken by Willmott Dixon Interiors, will refurbish an existing administrative space to create a roughly 3,000 square feet Innovation Suite. This will house a new reception area, and collaborative work and social space for local businesses, start-ups, CPD delivery and postgraduate students working in the innovative creative, cultural, engineering and manufacturing sectors.

The project will see the installation of new mechanical and electrical services and the refurbishment of existing seating areas, new floor finishes and decoration, as well as new furniture and a timber feature wall.

Graham Shaw, managing director at Willmott Dixon Interiors, said: “A new Innovation Suite will enhance the already impressive facilities available through the Innovation Studio.
We look forward to delivering a space that supports local businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs and further contributes to the successful growth of the digital and creative sectors in the region.”


King’s College London

A landmark new multi-disciplinary medical building for King’s College London has been given the green light by Lambeth Council.

Spearheaded by King’s School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences and the Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, the London Institute for Healthcare Engineering (LIHE) is a first-of-its-kind building, in which research, clinical practice and medtech will come together in a unique medical ‘ecosystem’.

HLM Architects will deliver the contemporary building, which will be embedded within the St Thomas’ campus above the Albert Embankment, opposite the Houses of Parliament, and overlooking the River Thames, carefully blending it into its historic surroundings and adjacent listed buildings.

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