Leeds University Library

Laidlaw and Edward Boyle up for Leeds Architecture Awards

Published Monday 12 December 2016

Laidlaw Library exterior from right hand side with A spire

Libraries shortlisted from nearly 80 nominations

Two of the University of Leeds' libraries have been shortlisted in this year's Leeds Architecture Award.

Among nearly 80 nominations, the expert judging panel will consider whether the shortlisted Edward Boyle (Altered Building category) and Laidlaw (New Building category) Libraries should be winners.

Organised by Leeds City Council and Leeds Chamber Property Forum the awards were set up to promote and showcase best practice in architecture and design in the city. There are seven categories, and this is the first award ceremony since 2013.

The winners will be announced in March at a glittering ceremony in Leeds Town Hall. Categories include best new building, best conserved building and best temporary works as well as a people's choice award. Also this year sees a special young people's award, selected by a panel of young people who will choose their favourite building from this year's award winners.

Two of the university's public art sculptures have also been shortlisted. Simon Fujiwara's A Spire, outside the University's Laidlaw library and Untitled Bas-Relief, a sculpture in aluminium by Hubert Dalwood, one of Britain's leading post-war sculptors have made it onto the list.

The judging panel, chaired by guest assessor Kit Martin, visited each of the shortlisted schemes before deciding on the winners in each of the main categories. Kit, the son of Architects Leslie Martin and Sadie Speight, has spent a lifetime conserving historic buildings. He was awarded a CBE in 2012 for services to conservation and "in acknowledgement of the lasting and immeasurably valuable contribution to the field of heritage regeneration".

 He has rescued from dereliction a series of major country houses with their landscape settings in England and Scotland and was the first Director of The Prince of Wales's Phoenix Trust.

As well as Kit Martin the judging panel also includes representatives from the Leeds Society of Architects, Leeds Civic Trust, Institute of Historic Buildings Restoration, the Landscape Institute and Leeds Beckett University. A range of criteria will be used to assess each of the shortlisted schemes, including appearance, sustainability, fitness for purpose, relation to setting, appropriate use of materials, consistency of design, enhancement of the area and lasting qualities.

Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council said, "Looking back at the landscape from 1987 when the awards first took place it's difficult to believe we're in the same city such is the transformation that has taken place through the building and development schemes since then.

"It's great to see that we have restoration projects of historical buildings alongside new builds in the award nominations. I think this really reflects the character of Leeds and the way the city recognises its past while embracing the future."

These awards are a great opportunity to highlight the good work going which is shaping our city and to show the world what Leeds has to offer."

University Librarian, Stella Butler said, "We are incredibly proud to have two of our libraries in the shortlist. So much thought and planning went into both projects in order to provide the best facilities for our students and maintain the university's high standard of architectural creativity. It's an honour for our buildings to be recognised as being representative of this fantastic city."

The University of Leeds has a total of four shortlisted entries in the awards, categories shown in brackets:
  • Edward Boyle Library (Altered Building)
  • The Laidlaw Library (New Building)
  • 'A Spire', University of Leeds (Public Art and Landscape Design)
  • 'Untitled Bas-Relief', Stage@Leeds, Cromer Road (Public Art and Landscape Design)
  • University of Leeds MSCP, Vernon Road (Innovation)
  • University of Leeds MSCP, Vernon Road (New Building)
See the full shortlist