Esther Simpson Building, University of Leeds



Main contractor

BAM Construction


DLA Architecture


Facing Bricks

Offsite Solutions

Esther Simpson Building University of Leeds - Facing Bricks


Part of a multi-million pound investment to support the expansion of the University of Leeds, the Esther Simpson Building was designed to provide the University’s business school with world class teaching facilities. The striking building is located on Lyddon Terrace, providing a link between the western university campus and the main university campus to the east.

Designed by DLA Architecture, the development was completed using red multi facing bricks, purposefully specified to complement the local vernacular. Taylor Maxwell worked with main contractors BAM Construction to specify and supply the facing bricks, which were cut and cast into large format panels off-site by Thorp Precast.


The project consisted of the transformation of the existing Purple Zone Car Park into a new teaching space for the Leeds University Business School. Detailed attention was given to movement and connections, involving extensive consultations with local stakeholders to address concerns and incorporate feedback. The design principles focused on improving public spaces, enhancing connectivity and introducing a harmonious pedestrian experience.

When specifying the materials used for the development, both the local vernacular and key constraints were important factors. The architects focused on creating a high-quality new build, designed to respect and complement the character of the Woodhouse Conservation area where it is located. The area is predominantly composed of three to four storey terraced houses, constructed in red brick and although they seem to have a repetitive character, they are not uniform. This means they have enough variation to attract attention to different areas of the elevation, which provides them with an individualistic character. The architects took inspiration from this and designed a predominately red brick building that incorporated an articulated diaper brickwork design, providing the new build with a clear rhythm.

Due to the congested nature of the streets within the surrounding conservation area, the site’s location was constrained. This meant that access to the site during the construction period was limited. By selecting a facing brick and creating an off-site solution, the development was able to continue on schedule through the Covid-19 pandemic and reduce time and disruption on site, whilst still providing a high-quality brick finish. The precast concrete units were manufactured in a factory off-site and came with pre-installed windows, further reducing time and workforce requirements on site during installation. They also provided a high-quality spec as they are manufactured under controlled and consistent conditions in a factory.

Esther Simpson Building University of Leeds - Facing Bricks
Esther Simpson Building University of Leeds - Facing Bricks


Completed in 2021, the new teaching facility takes its name from Esther Simpson, a University of Leeds alumna who dedicated her life to helping scholars flee totalitarian regimes. The Esther Simpson building reflects her dedication to academic freedom and pays homage to her enduring legacy and her commitment to the global teaching community.

The development now provides the university with over 6,000sqm of flexible teaching spaces, including lecture theatres, seminar rooms, behavioural laboratories and trading rooms. The interior also provides a computer suite and café for students and conference attendees to disconnect from the traditional lecture theatres and seminar rooms. Externally, the landscape design fulfilled its aim to create a sequential journey, connecting the new teaching facility to the wider public realm, whilst respecting the existing biodiversity and enhancing the ecological value through appropriate planting and habitat creation.

Find out more about facing bricks we provide here.

Esther Simpson Building University of Leeds 10 Large
Esther Simpson Building University of Leeds 3 Large
Esther Simpson Building University of Leeds 7 Large
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Esther Simpson Building University of Leeds 6 Large
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Esther Simpson Building University of Leeds 4 Large
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