Graduate design chosen for Leeds Beckett research centre

Three architecture graduates win competition to design new centre at Leeds Beckett University

A team of three talented Leeds Beckett graduates are set to leave their architectural mark on the University’s Headingley Campus, after winning a competition to design a new research centre. 

Alumni Gareth Roberts, Nick Wright and Danny Wallace, who all studied both BA (Hons) Architecture and MArch Architecture at Leeds Beckett, impressed the judging panel with their ‘The Potting Sheds’ proposal for the new Sustainable Technology and Landscape Resource Centre (StaLRC) – which will encompass both research and teaching spaces. 

The Potting Sheds design

The competition, which received 13 entries, was open to all Leeds Beckett Architecture and Landscape graduates. The team’s winning design will now be taken forward by the Project Office (PO) with a deadline for completion in 2017. 

Founded and managed by architecture lecturers, Simon Warren and Craig Stott, the PO is an architectural consultancy which sits under the umbrella of the School of Art, Architecture and Design. It gives architecture students at the University a chance to work with real clients, producing built and strategic design solutions with a particular emphasis on ethical, social and resilient architecture.  

All three of the winners are currently employed in architecture practices across the North of England, while studying part-time on the Postgraduate Diploma in Architectural Professional Practice at Leeds Beckett University.

Gareth said: “This project was a collaborative effort. We all got together and worked through all of the various aspects of the design, producing the drawings along the way. 

“The inspiration behind ‘The Potting Sheds’ was to create a piece of functional architecture which sits harmoniously within its surroundings. After visiting the site, we felt that there was a natural spine to the site and this helped define the location of our design proposal. By positioning our design on the northern boundary we created both a visual reference from the approach to the site and a gateway to the StaLRC. Additionally, this also meant that there would be minimal disruption to the landscape. Our design creates a positive connection with the landscape and this is something which we felt was essential for those using the building.”  

Nick commented: “It’s fantastic to be chosen as the winning team, especially when the quality of the other entries is taken into consideration. We are all extremely proud of what we have achieved in such a short space of time and are looking forward to seeing the project taken forward and constructed.” 

Danny added: “We would like to thank the Project Office for the opportunity to enter this competition and see the project realised in the not too distant future.  

“The PO is a fantastic addition to not only the architectural course at Leeds Beckett but also to the entire university. Through giving students exposure to live projects it offers an insight into professional practice and this is something which is not always easy to achieve. Finally, we would like to say how good it feels to give something back to the university now that we are approaching the conclusion of our studies at Leeds Beckett.”  

The competition runners up were alumni Genenan Antoine and Andrea Ghirawoo for their Landscape and Sustainability Research Pavilion design.  

Craig Stott said: “We have been very impressed with the creativity and professionalism of our architecture and landscape alumni. The range of ideas exhibited in the entries was fantastic. We have really enjoyed the competition and the opportunity to reconnect with our alumni, we anticipate running more in the future as it provides our alumni with a great opportunity to keep learning and developing their skills.” 


Simon Warren added: “We also think that there are further explorations we can make with the competition format and our alumni that will be of benefit to the University, alumni and the wider community. The process is now feeding into Project Office’s research with a series of multi-faceted outputs relating to the learning environment we create and continued pedagogy post-graduation.”

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