De Montfort University
The recently completed Vijay Patel building is an award winning £42 million faculty of Art, Design and Humanities at De Montfort University in Leicester.
The brand new building plays a part in a critical phase of the university’s long-term masterplan, which is built around an ambitious vision to re-connect the city centre of Leicester to the River Soar, by creating a series of linked public open spaces through the De Montfort campus.
Designed by CPMG architects and delivered by Main Contractor Balfour Beatty, the project includes the construction of a new six-storey block, the conversion of a two-storey building and the retention and refurbishment of the original Fletcher building - a 12-storey tower block which now serves as the focal point for the composition and around which other spaces are skillfully arranged. A total of 27,700m2 of teaching and supporting office space has been created for the university.
The client's vision for the new facility was to create a development that would impress stakeholders and competitors with its ingenuity and design elegance, and celebrate the area's industrial and craft heritage as well as its cutting-edge digital future.
The building's structure has been split into three distinct areas, with each part purpose-built to suit the needs of the individual faculties; the Arts Tower development, the Design Wing and the Food Court.
Responding to the brief, terracotta rainscreen was chosen by the architects (CPMG) to clad one of the prominent new faculty wings - a nod to the area's industrial heritage as well as complementing the traditional red colouring of neighbouring town houses. Extending down both sides of the building and curved beautifully around the peninsula, the terracotta is complemented by slender fins that provide solar shading to the teaching spaces inside.
Terracotta cladding provides the visual impact of a timeless facade, coupled with the distinctive character of natural terracotta in a ventilating rainscreen. The ARGETON rainscreen system combines the proven durability and natural beauty of clay, with a simple support structure, enabling the designer freedom of expression and the builder a simple and quick installation process.
Whether in a new building or refurbishment, the CWCT tested ARGETON facade system provides tangible environmental benefits, holding the Environmental Product Declaration in accordance with ISO14025 and EN15804 being the European standardised equivalent of a BREEAM accreditation.
The Vijay Patel building has recently been awarded the RIBA East Midlands Award 2018 with the judges noting that the scheme was; ‘a project of considerable scale which has succeeded in producing not only a building of high merit, but has also transformed the experience for a wide population in a significant area of the city.’