Sports research building is out of the blocks

29th May 2018

Sheppard Robson–designed sports research building at Leeds Beckett University given green light by planners

Council planners have given the green light for a new state-of-the-art teaching and research building at Leeds Beckett University.

The Carnegie Teaching and Research building, at the university’s Headingley Campus, will be home to students and academics from the Carnegie School of Sport.

The £45m building, designed by Sheppard Robson, will be a base for the school’s undergraduate, postgraduate and research programmes and will provide a hub for the elite athletes who use the university’s sports performance expertise. One of the main features will be a 60m covered rooftop running track, along with an environmental chamber which can mimic different altitudes and environments.

The new facility creates a modern addition to the campus reflecting existing historic buildings through a narrative of vertical fenestration panels and its contemporary material palette. Concave aluminium panels reflect back in reverse Doric columns allowing an interplay of light across the building. The main feature is the elevated 60m competitive indoor running track encased in red anodised panels patterned with a section of muscle – the unifying element across all disciplines within the School.

The new building will unite the School of Sport currently dispersed over five buildings into one for the first time. To facilitate this two blocks running perpendicular to the indoor running track are joined by a central atrium with double height glazing offering long ranging views over outdoor athletics provision visually linking indoor and outdoor use. Adjacencies have also been carefully considered to support collaborative working practices within the School.

Professor Peter Slee, Vice Chancellor of Leeds Beckett University, said: “This £45m world-class facility will underline our global reputation for delivering high-impact sports teaching and research. It is part of a wider £200m programme of investment across our campuses which will further increase the positive contribution we make to our city region and beyond.”

Pete Mackreth, Dean of the Carnegie School of Sport, added: “Many of our academics are international leaders in their field, from anti-doping policy and gender equality in sport to obesity prevention and sports performance. This outstanding new facility will help to ensure that our university continues to attract the most talented students and staff to further enhance our reputation for world-leading research in sport.”

Alex Solk, Partner at Sheppard Robson said: “It has been a fantastic journey working with the university and their School of Sport to design a facility to match their reputation in this field, and enable their future growth and innovation. The challenges of the site and context have driven us to design a striking built form that expresses the use within.”

Construction on the new building will begin in July 2018 with completion in November 2019.

Planning approval for the Carnegie Teaching and Research building follows the start of work on a new creative arts building at the university’s city campus.

The Carnegie School of Sport is well-known for its sporting excellence and was founded in 1933 as the prestigious Carnegie College of Physical Training. Well known sporting alumni from the university include double Olympic gold-winning triathlete, Alistair Brownlee MBE; double Paralympic gold-winning athlete, Kadeena Cox MBE; former GB hockey player Sam Quek, and former England rugby union head coach, Stuart Lancaster.