Sir William Henry Bragg Building exterior CGI

- Higher Education

The Sir William Henry Bragg Building: Changing the way we think about research

— CLIENT
University of Leeds

— SECTOR
Higher Education

— SERVICES
Architecture
Heritage

— VALUE
£96m

— LEAD CONTACTS
Jon Roylance
Joe Morgan

Challenge

The Sir William Henry Bragg Building is the largest single investment in the University of Leeds’ history. Its origins lie in our masterplan for the University, where we identified several key science facilities that were no longer fit for purpose. Instead of redesigning each facility, the Bragg Building brings together the Faculty of Engineering and Schools of Physics and Chemistry into a single building – creating a truly world-class collaborative research centre.

The crucial challenge was to design spaces that changed the way people worked. We needed to encourage collaboration through room layouts and the way the building was organised, while keeping an eye to the future of research. The site chosen included the Grade II* listed Old Mining Building, which we would sensitively repurpose to form part of the new centre.

Approach + Solution

The Bragg Building is fully equipped to support cutting-edge science research now and into the future. This is thanks to an impressive range of research environments – from clean rooms and low vibration facilities to spaces that allow for studies into radiation, optics, low temperatures, and bio-nano chemistry. We took the time to explore options with each of the schools/faculties and the wider university, planning spaces around their needs while using our experience to encourage collaboration wherever possible.

We carried out a heritage assessment to make sure that our designs made the best use of the Old Mining Building, and repaired any existing damage. When complete, the building will stand as a stunning addition to the University’s campus, complementing the historic architecture and landscapes that surround it.

“This investment is a substantial part of the University’s £520m campus development plan, and will help secure our ambition to be one of the UK’s top ten research universities.”

– DENNIS HOPPER, DIRECTOR OF FACILITIES MANAGEMENT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS