Northampton school and a uni library building 'among most attractive buildings in the East Midlands'

Two buildings in Northampton have been shortlisted for a Royal Institute of British Architects award.

Monday, 18th March 2019, 4:11 pm
Updated Monday, 18th March 2019, 4:16 pm
The award will be handed out by Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) on May 9

Judges for the 2019 awards have whittled the candidates down to 12 buildings across the East Midlands, with Northampton international Academy in Barrack Road and the Learning Hub at the University of Northampton's Waterside Campus both making the final.

Sam Culling, chair of East Midlands RIBA said: “The quality and range of the schemes selected, including several by regionally-based practices, is testament to the exemplary standard of architecture that this region has to offer.”

The Northampton International Academy took on the derelict Royal Mail sorting office and the transformation dreamed up by architects Architecture Initiative has impressed the judges.

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The uni's Learning Hub. Photo by Alan Crow.

With a floor area of 22,000 sq metres the main mass of the existing building remains largely unchanged except for the sports hall that has been inserted into the former rooftop courtyard.

But the award citation praises the fact the existing concrete 'waffle-slab' structure has been used and exposed.

It says: "Vast voids were formed through the existing concrete waffle slab to bring daylight deep into the interior and provide open vertical circulation and visual links between floors."

"New windows in the façades create naturally bright and well-ventilated classrooms."

Northampton International Academy. Photo by Luke Hayes

Open 24 hours a day, the university's Learning Hub is at the heart of the new Waterside Campus and houses the library, shared general teaching areas, specialists’ skills spaces, student administration, academic workspaces and catering.

It's citation says MCW Architects have achieved a beautiful link between the campus and Becket's Park.

It says: "Its openness and transparency connect the riverside through to the centre of the campus and makes teaching and learning highly visible."