University of Strathclyde: Learning & Teaching Building named winner in Architects’ Journal Retrofit Awards 2022

The University of Strathclyde’s £60m Learning & Teaching (L&T) Building has won the Higher Education and Campus category of the Architects’ Journal (AJ) Retrofit Awards 2022.

The 200,000m2 L&T Building was created through the refurbishment and integration of two existing buildings – the Colville Building and the Category B-listed Architecture Building.

Completed in April 2021, the building opened in September and forms part of the University’s wider £1 billion campus investment. The refurbishment created a range of new spaces from small breakout areas to a 400-seat lecture theatre and has resulted in substantial embodied carbon benefits owing to its re-use of the existing structures.

The building also hosts office spaces and the students’ union, Strath Union, featuring music and events space plus accommodation to support more than 100 clubs and societies, a bar, bistros and coffee areas.

Sustainability has been at the heart of the project, which achieved a 67% carbon reduction on a new build project, recycled 97% of waste material, and gained a BREEAM ‘very good’ rating. The building is also connected to the University’s district heating and power network, helping to reduce carbon emissions, and features a ‘green roof’ to support biodiversity.

Commenting on the award, sponsored by TECHNAL, one judge remarked: “It would have been ripe for demolition and rebuilding in many other contexts.” Another judge praised architect BDP’s ‘powerful’ architectural moves.’

The L&T Building honours three prominent women with the former Architecture building now known as the Professor Mary Dunn Wing, in honour of Strathclyde’s first female professor and Head of Department; the former Colville building designated the Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell Wing, in recognition of the renowned astrophysicist, first woman president of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and of the Institute of Physics, and honorary graduate of Strathclyde; and the central outdoor events and gatherings space named the Professor Jackie Kay Plaza, in honour of the celebrated poet, novelist and Strathclyde honorary graduate. The names were chosen via a consultation and vote amongst the University’s students and staff.

The aspect of the building will be enhanced further through the forthcoming Heart of the Campus Project, which will see the pedestrianisation of North Portland Street and re-landscaping of Rottenrow Gardens to enhance greenspace, improve diversity and support health and wellbeing.

The refurbishment of the building involved the main contractor Balfour Beatty, engineering firm Arup and services engineering company Hulley and Kirkwood.