News

Arup assists University of Leicester to win conservation grant award

Thomas Pearson Senior Designer & Conservationist, Arup
17 October 2018

The University of Leicester’s influential Engineering Building, designed by James Stirling and James Gowan, is to receive a prestigious architectural conservation grant from the Getty Foundation’s Keeping It Modern initiative.

Arup’s heritage consultants assisted the University in their application and will now work in collaboration with Historic England, the 20th Century Society and Leicester City Council to develop the plan. This will involve a full historical assessment and stakeholder engagement process, and will ultimately enable the asset management team to improve the ongoing maintenance and compliance of the building while respecting what makes it so exceptional. Arup’s façade, structural, mechanical and electrical engineers will also work with the Department of Engineering to research new ways of improving the performance of the tower.

Safeguarding the future of the Engineering Building is the main goal: that means respecting its unique heritage values and managing change so that it can remain an effective and inspiring place to study and work. ” Thomas Pearson Senior Designer & Conservationist, Arup

Engineering Building Leicester University Engineering Building Leicester University
The University of Leicester's Engineering Building

Arup was lead designer and heritage consultant for the sensitive upgrade and preservation of the Grade II* Engineering Building which originally opened in 1963. The entire aluminium framing system and 2,500 glass panels were replaced while preserving the fine geometry of the original design and its complex diamond shapes. New building services provide a comfortable environment with efficient heating, cooling and ventilation.

Thomas Pearson, Senior Designer & Conservationist at Arup, said: “After working with the University of Leicester to upgrade the Engineering Building’s roof, we are absolutely thrilled to be asked back to help prepare a plan for its future. The project is sure to be a challenge – nothing is straightforward with the architecture of Stirling and Gowan – and we are looking forward to a close collaborative process with the building’s users and other stakeholders. Safeguarding the future of the Engineering Building is the main goal: that means respecting its unique heritage values and managing change so that it can remain an effective and inspiring place to study and work.” Keeping it Modern was developed by the Getty Foundation. It has supported 54 national and international conservation projects that collectively address the importance of research and planning for the preservation of modern architectural heritage.

The £85,000 award, one of 10 given worldwide to significant 20th Century buildings in 2018, will help the University to develop a conservation management plan that will improve the experience of those working within the building while securing its status as an architectural icon.

Find out more about the Engineering Building at the University of Leicester