Swimming pool and labs in show of best buildings

June 22, 2001

An exhibition showcasing 41 of the best new buildings in the United Kingdom higher education sector is running in London.

The Higher Education Design Quality Forum organised the exhibition, asking universities to submit their best two building projects from the past three years.

Only one building per university and two per architect are included and the final choice ranges from libraries, laboratories and business schools to a swimming pool.

Roger Hawkins, convenor of the HEDQF and director of Hawkins/Brown architects, said the university sector was relatively well-informed when it came to commissioning buildings.

But, he said it had been difficult to find good halls of residence as these were often still delivered through design-and-build contracts without considering the needs of the users.

He added that there had been few new arts buildings recently as money was being channelled into science laboratories and business schools. He said there was a growing trend towards refurbishment as the large stock of buildings from the 1960s' expansions were being adapted to modern needs.

The HEDQF was formed in 1995 by the Royal Institute of British Architects to improve dialogue between the university community commissioning buildings and architects.

The HEDQF has representatives on Universities UK, the Association of University Directors of Estates and the Standing Committee of Principals, as well as commercial architects.

The exhibition runs until June 30 at the Building Centre, London. It will also be accessible online and the HEDQF hopes to build on the exhibition to create a permanent database of successful buildings.

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