ADP Architecture has completed the Sir William Henry Bragg Building at the University of Leeds. It’s a new center for engineering and physical sciences that is designed to support research in robotics and artificial intelligence. The design was thoughtfully intended to create top-of-the-line facilities that enhance the student experience and opportunities for collaboration.
The focus of the project is accommodating the way people work in a research center. Thus, the Sir William Henry Bragg Building has adaptable spaces for a variety of purposes. The building itself encourages integration between disciplines by removing branding from individual departments and replacing that with multi-disciplinary spaces at the center of the building, including equipped laboratory spaces within short distance of those collaboration hubs. It’s an interesting take similar to open-concept corporate offices.
Surrounding public spaces include landscaping and a Grade II listed heritage building, creating an impressive new gateway to the campus. The building is a major part of a wider campus master plan by ADP intended to establish Leeds as one of the U.K.’s top ten research universities. The center is named after a former Nobel Prize-winning physics professor from Leeds, and combines the School of Physics and School of Computing into a 16,000 square-meter research facility.
The atrium is glazed and features a series of vertical glass and stone seams to reference the Portland stone architecture surrounding the center that characterizes the campus. The building achieved BREEAM Excellent rating for sustainability. Timber-paneled walls and ceiling fill out the center of the building with perforated bronze aluminum screens and an engineered concrete and steel staircase with timber slats creating a warm and yet clean design for the professional space. The central atrium connects the center through a series of high-level bridges with a café.
“By encouraging a participatory and forward-thinking briefing and design process, the University has delivered a truly collaborative and interdisciplinary teaching and research facility,” said Jon Roylance, higher education sector director at ADP. “The center links a significantly large and technically complex new building with the sensitive re-purposing of a listed building and the re-imagining of new public realm.”
“The opening of the Sir William Bragg building will bring so much to the University community,” Steve Gilley, director of estates and facilities added. “It will be a thriving hub of research and education for the faculty of engineering and physical sciences, a new home for the schools of computing and physics, and the location for the new Bragg Centre for materials research. It will also be a welcoming, accessible and modernized gateway into campus.”
The low-carbon complex will replace outdated facilities and includes seven stories of high-tech teaching rooms and laboratories. It’ll also have a 3,000 square-meter basement, a hermetically sealed negatively pressured electrostatic environment designed so that vibrations from passing traffic do not interfere with sensitive laboratory instruments. This includes advanced electron microscope technology for investigating and fabricating new materials.
Images via ADP Architecture