DE MONTFORT University’s (DMU) newest addition to its Leicester campus – the Vijay Patel building – has been hailed as the best educational building in the East Midlands at the LABC Awards (Local Authority Building Control).
The £42 million centrepiece to the university’s campus, which is home to Leicester’s art and design courses, beat off stiff competition from across the region and will now be judged at a national level to be in with the chance of being named the best educational building in the UK.
“This is a huge honour and we’re delighted to have been recognised at such a high level for the fantastic work the teams have put into creating such a spectacular building,” said Nick Gregory, director at CPMG Architects – which designed the Vijay Patel building.
A new six storey building engages with the redeveloped 11-storey tower and CLASP (Consortium of Local Authorities Special Programme) buildings, creating a stunning new home for the art and design faculty.
“We implemented a tactical combination of newly-built structures and comprehensive refurbishment which worked together to really push architectural boundaries. A major feature of the new building is a bespoke ‘floating’ staircase – which has been nicknamed the ‘Harry Potter’ staircase by students and staff.
“The new home of art and design – which comprises a mix of formal and informal teaching spaces, workshops, studios and shared atria – is light and uncompromisingly modern, creating an inspiring space in which to teach and learn,” added Nick.
Umesh Desai, the university’s director of estates and commercial services, said: “It is fantastic for DMU, and our partner CPMG, to be recognised in this way. The Vijay Patel building forms a striking centrepiece to our £136 million campus transformation project. It is stunning to look at both inside and out and is proving to be an inspirational teaching and learning space for our students and staff.
“We are now looking forward to the building going into the national finals in London and gaining further recognition for what is an outstanding city landmark.”
The proposals form a critical phase in the university’s long-term masterplan, built around a vision to re-connect the city centre to the River Soar via a series of linked public open spaces through the De Montfort campus. Combined with purpose-designed new and remodelled university facilities, the result is a series of high quality urban spaces.
“It’s a project particularly close to my heart, as a DMU alum myself, so this award is a really special one. It is a testament to the team’s hard work and commitment,” continued Nick.
The LABC Awards were held at the Athena in Leicester and are held each year to recognise the high quality work being carried out by building and design teams across the country.
The Vijay Patel building has been in use since September 2016 and has already received high praise from students, staff and visitors alike.
It is not the first time that the Vijay Patel Building has been awarded a top prize. In February, Leicester Civic Society named it the best new building in Leicester. The society described the Vijay Patel building as ‘uncompromisingly modern’ which is ‘in scale and harmony with its important historic surroundings’.