Sir William Henry Bragg Building makes Leeds Architecture Awards shortlist

The state-of-the-art Sir William Henry Bragg Building is among three nominees for one of the region’s most prestigious construction prizes.

The Leeds Architecture Awards, which celebrates excellence in architectural design across the metropolitan borough of Leeds, has shortlisted the Bragg Building in its “new buildings (more than £10 million in value)” category. It made the cut following stage-one judging from members of Leeds Civic Trust, Leeds Society of Architects, Leeds City Council, and RIBA.

The Bragg Building, which officially opened on 6 June 2022, celebrates the achievements of Sir William Henry Bragg and his son Lawrence, who jointly won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1915. It offers a state-of-the-art integrated teaching and research facility, designed to help the University achieve its strategic aim of making a positive difference in the world.

ADP Architecture collaborated with the University’s professional staff and academics to sensitively redesign the Grade II* listed Old Mining Building, combining its iconic facade with a new, seven-storey glass-and-steel complex that offers a world-leading research centre and an accessible, modern gateway into the campus.

The Bragg Building’s 2,400m2 basement hosts a hermetically sealed, negatively pressured, electrostatic environment designed to nullify vibrations from passing traffic. This negates any potential outside interference with the ultra-sensitive laboratory instruments inside, including an advanced electron microscope for investigating and fabricating new materials.

Since it became open for use last October, the Bragg – which achieved a BREEAM Excellent rating for sustainability – has become a social and learning hub for thousands of visitors to the campus each year, including students with the School of Computing, and School of Physics and Astronomy.

The Sir William Henry Bragg Building

The Sir William Henry Bragg Building adapts the original Grade II*-listed Old Mining Building as part of its modern development.

Jerry Lee, Senior Facilities Manager for the Faculty, said: “Everyone involved in the project is proud of what we achieved together, and to be shortlisted for another great award is testament to the hard work of talented stakeholders.

“The building makes a major contribution to both the University and the wider city – and it’s fantastic to know that experts continue to see it as a worthy addition to Leeds.”

Last year, the Bragg won the RICS Yorkshire & Humber Award. Judges praised the development’s “strong collaborative approach to a challenging stakeholder environment”, “embracing the existing features of the building and complementing it with sustainable technologies and features throughout.” Earlier this year, it also claimed the RIBA Yorkshire Award 2023.

The Sir William Henry Bragg Building is joined on the three-strong shortlist by 11 & 12 Wellington Place (tpbennett) – which claim to be the UK’s most sustainable office buildings – and Globe Point (Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios), a “flat iron” style office development that forms part of Leeds’ South Bank Temple neighbourhood.

The University has another shortlisted building in the awards – the Newlyn Building, developed for the Leeds University Business School and the School of Law, is competing in the “new buildings (up to £10 million in value)” category.

This year’s Leeds Architecture Awards are due to be handed to winners on 1 November. 

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