Ten minutes with Margarita Bosnjak, Interior Architect

What is your role and what do you do?

I am an interiors architect and workplace strategist with the Facilities Directorate.

It’s my job to create environments that best serve the needs of its users. I’m developing a broad strategy to embrace current global trends for workplaces. The past few years have significantly impacted what we need from a physical workplace.

What projects are you working on?

They vary in scale but are all focused on using space in a more sustainable way in every sense: carbon targets, mental health, financial implications, long-term growth projections, etc. 

Working with external consultants I’m developing a design concept for the Digital Learning Accelerator in E.C Stoner, a new build to help the University further develop as digital innovators.

I hope our ideas will balance out the requirements of multiple types of end users, different age groups and the newest technology. My role is to soften the industrial fabric of the layout and help specify the finishes that will inspire and improve the performance of both the staff and students.

What is your favourite thing about your role?

I can use my versatile experience to create environments that will serve students, help staff and as a result support the University’s Strategic Plan. I work with fantastic team leaders –  David Oldroyd and Ed Batty – whose open minds and positive vision ensure that we are embracing the future.

What aspects of the work that you do do you think are the most important to people?

I heard someone say “God is in the detail, so is the devil”. And I live and work by it. A glass table top can cause harm because of its low visibility, or a metal arm rest can make the chair uncomfortable. Poor choices can result in time and money wasted, and more stress added to the workload, especially on large scale projects.

How can we make spaces better suited to people’s needs?

We all need to work together and create a feeling of community, because supportive environments can lift up any mood and reduce anxiety. We have to share our spaces and use solutions that allow us to collaborate more and isolate less, and include people with all sorts of different needs.

Can you tell us about a favourite project?

I am fortunate to have my passion as my career, and have the luxury of working on projects that I enjoy, so it’s difficult to give one example. I’ve recently started planning design strategies for various spaces in the libraries with Facilities & Space Manager Stephen Day, which is exciting.

Collaboration with people who share the vision of progress is always rewarding and we both understand that investment works better in the long term than spending!

Find out more about Margarita’s upcoming projects by following @UoLCampusDevelopment

Cleaning services training development day

Cleaning team focus on collaboration

Team leaders from Cleaning Services took part in a development day on Tuesday, working with colleagues across the University.

The theme for the day was working together as one team and how collaboration brings positive impact for all involved.

Jill Roberts, Head of Cleaning Services said: 

“It’s so important to invest in personal and professional development, and while it is always difficult to find the time, it was obvious how much everyone got from the day.”

“Collaboration is a University Value and reflects the direction of the Facilities Directorate as a whole, which we are proud to be a part of.”

“Thank you to colleagues from the Staff Counselling Service, Health & Wellbeing, Security and OD&PL who joined us.”

The Cleaning team are integral to the running of the University and Jill has recently received a large number of appreciative emails from across campus. These included:

“I just had to write this morning to let you know how blown away we are with the cleaners here in Maths, who always go above and beyond what is expected. They are extremely friendly and continuously do an amazing job!”

And from Psychology:

“They were professional, cheerful and did a fantastic job! We are really grateful to them all and they definitely made a difference.”

LITAC new meeting room

New space for the Leeds Institute of Textiles & Colour

A new base has been completed for the Leeds Institute of Textiles & Colour (LITAC) in the Clothworkers Central Building, with the management team due to move in this week.

The interior design team, part of the Estates team in the University’s Facilities Directorate, worked with Associated Architects to create the bright and airy space which comprises a large meeting room, offices, and a reception area with kitchen.

In consultation with LITAC, the design compliments the brand identity of the Institute, using the colours of its logo (black, cream, white and gold) in the style and finishes, while also being sympathetic to the Clothworkers’ Tower building in which the office is situated.

David Oldroyd, Interim Director of Development, Estates & Facilities said:

“The area was previously used by Chemistry and there was a lot of work to do before the build started, including dismantling fume cupboards and opening up the space. Lodestone were employed to do the build and have done a great job.”

“It was a pleasure for the Estates team to work with LITAC, who have excellence in design at the heart of their work. The result is a high spec, highly functional and inviting space.”

It has been designed not only with functionality and comfort for the team at its core, but also to provide a collaborative place for hosting the Institute’s research partners across different industries in a professional and creative environment.

About LITAC

LITAC is a collaborative University of Leeds research Institute that was founded in 2021. The Institute sits within the School of Design but works across campus coordinating expertise and resources to address global research challenges related to textiles, colour and fashion.

Its roots date back almost 150 years in textile and colour research. Building on the generous support of the Clothworkers’ Company in 1874, the legacy continues as LITAC will be based within the historical Clothworkers’ Buildings at the University of Leeds.

Professor Steve Russell, Director of LITAC said:

“The space has been transformed and provides colleagues with a superb facility for collaborative discussions, right next to the Institute’s extensive research labs and equipment.”

“With a dedicated entrance off Clothworkers’ Court, we look forward to welcoming all visitors to the Institute.”

Photos by John Tees photography

Sustainable garden team

Accessible makeover for the Sustainable Garden

Ayesha Fitzwilliam Hall, an apprentice in the Grounds and Gardens team, spotted an opportunity to develop her skills by redesigning and refreshing the Sustainable Garden, a much loved area of campus which had become overgrown following COVID-19 lockdowns.

She has worked with her colleagues and the Sustainability service to redesign the space to improve accessibility and usability. This includes the introduction of raised planting areas, new furniture to support workshops and learning, and establishing new edible planting to ensure that the space is ready to welcome students and staff back to campus in 2022.

Ayesha said:

“The Sustainable Garden is a wonderful area but lockdowns and fewer people on campus had an impact on its usability. I enjoyed leading a team of colleagues on the redesign work to make sure that the space was once again a great place for everyone on campus. The bigger task though, has been restoring the garden in line with the University’s sustainability principles. It’s hard work but I’m proud of what I’ve achieved. I hope to welcome lots of people to enjoy and volunteer in the space over the next year.”

More improvements will be added over the coming weeks and months, including a wellbeing area, with a view to bringing back regular volunteer gardening sessions for staff and students through this term and beyond.

Find out more about the Sustainability service at the University of Leeds.

Robert Bradley and Weetwood floodlight

New low carbon floodlights latest step to Net Zero by 2030

Low energy LED floodlights recently installed at Sports Park Weetwood – part of the University of Leeds – are set to reduce carbon emissions by 6.7 tonnes a year.

Their installation is among the latest activity in the work by Estates and Facilities to move the campus towards delivering net zero emissions by 2030, a key commitment of the University Climate Plan. 

The LED floodlights use less electricity than previous equipment and have greater light output, which means fewer fittings need to be installed. They also have a longer life span.

It is estimated the new lights will save 29,879 kWh of energy per year, which equates to a reduction of 6.7 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions.

Ann Allen, Director of Campus Innovation and Development said:

“All the work that we do makes a difference to students and staff however our work to move the campus towards delivering net zero by 2030 is the biggest single project by the Estates and Facilities team to make a difference to our planet and is at the core of the University’s Climate Plan.”

“It includes the targeted refurbishment of buildings, the installation of low carbon technologies and solar panels across the estate – including sports facilities like those at Weetwood – and the electrification of our vehicle fleet.”

“This work builds on activity over many years to save electricity across the breadth of the Leeds campus including installation of LED lighting and working with Faculties to use out campus more effectively.”

Reducing carbon emissions across the University

Other activity to reduce emissions – outlined in the recent Climate Plan quarterly report – includes work to develop a new heating, cooling and ventilation policy to reduce energy use. A shutdown of the steam network over the summer months contributed towards a 15% reduction in emissions between June and August 2022.

University Residences have begun a programme of low energy lighting upgrades, starting at Lupton.

A major project is currently underway to assess the opportunities for building retrofit and heat pump installation across campus to reduce energy demand, alongside identification of opportunities to install further solar panels on University buildings.

Further work has been commissioned including a report into climate resilience on campus, and an analysis of electrical requirements over the next 25 years.

 

The Edge's newly refurbished fitness suite

The Edge ready for new term with major refurbishment

The Edge’s new facilities – which include a complete upgrade of cardiovascular and resistance equipment – are now complete and ready for use.

The improvements position it as one of the premier health and wellbeing centres in the city.

The new layout of the fitness suite provides more space for strength and resistance training and spin studio has been refurbished with a new layout and bikes.

Flooring and lighting have been replaced to create a warm and inviting atmosphere and a new sound system to create a better ambiance.

Suzanne Glavin, Head of Sport & Physical Activity, said:

“This major update helps The Edge to stand out from competitors to an even greater extent. It is essential that we cater to the ever-changing needs of our customers, and currently there is a focus in fitness on strength and functional equipment, which we have met by including equipment such as a master centre rig.”

Jon Webster, Site Manager for Sewell Construction said;

“We’re proud to play a part in this development, which will help improve leisure facilities for staff and students at the University of Leeds, as well as the wider community.

“As with all our schemes, sustainability and carbon impact are high on our agenda, and we have ensured that any waste from site has been disposed of in a responsible way. Across all our sites we strive for 96% being diverted from landfill and we hope this will continue to be improved even further.”

Find out more about The Edge and Sport & Physical Activity at the University of Leeds.

Bodington Football Hub group visit

Bodington Football Hub reaches milestone

Construction works have reached the halfway point at Bodington Football Hub, a major new facility at the University that will support grassroots sport in the city.

Representatives from the University, the Football Foundation and Sewell Construction gathered last week to mark the development’s four-team changing pavilion reaching its ‘topping out’ phase.

Suzanne Glavin, Head of Sport and Physical Activity at the University of Leeds, said:

“This is an important milestone in the creation of this key sports facility for the people of Leeds, including our students.

“We are grateful to our partners and excited that it is another step towards inspiring our community to become more active and involved in sport.”

Robert Sullivan, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said:

“This site at Bodington is a great example of investment from our partners, the Premier League, the FA, Government and Sport England, improving grassroots facilities across the country. This funding will enable more people to enjoy the benefits of playing regular sport.”

Community sport a core focus for new build

Made possible thanks to investment from the University and a £4.2m grant from the Premier League, the Football Association and the Football Foundation, the site will feature three full-size LED floodlit football turf pitches, a pavilion with community café, and extensive parking.

Chris Soper, Joint Managing Director for Sewell Construction added:

“It was great to see such progress on site, especially with the pavilion taking shape and the final pieces of structure being laid to the highest point.

“This facility is going to be such a welcome boost to both grassroots sport in Leeds, and the wider community, and I know I’m speaking on behalf of the whole team when we say we’re proud to be the ones bringing a sports development of this scale to fruition.

“Once complete, it will support community engagement and wellbeing, and we can’t wait for our partners and end-users to see it all come together over the next few months.”

Bodington Football Hub group visit

Left to right: Dave Major – Project Manager, Sewell Construction; Brian Ford – Head of Capital Development, University of Leeds; Will Wallace – Football Foundation; Ella Williams – LUUWAFC Captain & LUU Sports Rep; Gawaine Mackenzie-Hogg – Outdoor Operations Manager, University of Leeds; Chris Soper – Joint Managing Director, Sewell Construction; Steve Grime – Head of Football, University of Leeds; Carl Hurdus – Site Manager, Sewell Construction

The Bodington Playing Fields site is located three miles north of the main University campus, and is also home to the Brownlee Centre – the UK’s first purpose-built triathlon training centre – and Bodington Cycle circuit, one of the longest in the country.

Once completed later this year, the new site will be home to partner clubs from across the city.

Find out more about Bodington Football Hub.

Roger Stevens lecture theatre refurb

Designed to inspire: new teaching spaces open

An innovative new lecture theatre designed to inspire and encourage collaborative learning has opened for teaching.

Digital technology

The exciting new space, one of three now open at the iconic Roger Stevens Building, is equipped to make best practice use of digital technology – enriching the learning environment and enabling group activities and hybrid learning.

This is a key factor in both the University’s determination to build a fairer future for all  and to redefine the curriculum.

Roger Stevens refurb desks

Student feedback

We listened to feedback from students about recently updated teaching spaces elsewhere in Roger Stevens and in Mechanical Engineering.

Steve Gilley, Director of Estate & Facilities, University of Leeds said:

“We listened to feedback from students about recently updated teaching spaces elsewhere in Roger Stevens and in Mechanical Engineering.

“The new lecture theatres reflect what they have told us they need, from simple additions like coat hooks and more space for bags to the exciting technology that encourages collaborative learning.

“We look forward to hearing what academic colleagues and students think of these new areas.”

Roger Stevens refurb

A closer connection to nature

Like other spaces around the University, a green wall has been incorporated as a key part of the interior.

Research has found that biophillic design – the practice of creating a closer connection to nature through the ways building and landscapes are created and built – has a positive effect on wellbeing.

Flexible seating encourages collaboration between students with ‘review space’ so that teaching staff can move around easily, and each student desk has its own lighting, USB port, and laptop available.

Find out more about the University’s determination to build a fairer future for all. 

Camera filming grounds team at Sports Park Westwood

Grounds Week 2022

As Grounds Week 2022 kicks off, research by the the Grounds Management Association (GMA) shows that 77% of outdoor workers feel rewarded and a strong sense of achievement, compared to 47% of people working behind a desk.

Work-life balance

Katie Stott is an Apprentice Sports Turf Operative, at Sports Park Weetwood, part of the University of Leeds. She finds that her role has improved her work-life balance.

“I’ve always loved gardening and being outdoors. After my degree in Events Management at Leeds Met I wasn’t sure which path to take, but after volunteering as a gardener in Churwell, I realised that grounds and garden work was really rewarding.

“I find it great for my wellbeing too. When I get home at the end of the working day, I’m ready for my evening rather than feeling tired from being indoors at a desk all day.”

Katie is studying for a Level 2 in Sports Turf Operative alongside her work to help build her career.

Katie Stott

University Grounds and Gardens team

The University has an extensive and highly skilled Grounds and Gardens team who are responsible for the management and maintenance of the green estate.

This includes sports ground maintenance, managing the tree stock, maintaining campus landscaping, and much more.

Technology

Dave Thackray is a Groundsman in the team. He has seen many changes in the way that grounds are maintained.

“The job is very varied, and like many other professions, technology has made a huge difference.

“We now use a robot for line marking the pitches, for example. It can be programmed for whatever size and configuration you need, and left to do its job. We can then get on with other tasks.”

Grounds Week 2022

Grounds Week shines a light on the work of those in the profession who work with skill and dedication to produce quality surfaces for sports and recreational spaces all year round.

Sometimes labelled the ‘hidden profession’, the GMA is helping young people and those outside of the sector to understand what the involves, and how to get into the sector.

The GMA’s polling of 352 people who work indoors and 100 people who work outdoors, was carried out between January 2022 and February 2022, in partnership with Censuswide. The research seeks to understand how fulfilled people feel in their current career/role, and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on this.

A separate survey was carried out by the Grounds Management Association, between January 2022 and February 2022. During this period, 318 grounds staff and volunteers were polled.

Find out more about Grounds Week 2022.

Bodington Playing Fields

University of Leeds and Football Foundation celebrate start of works on new football facility

The University of Leeds and the Football Foundation have marked the start of building works on a new football facility, giving a welcome boost to grassroots sport in Leeds made possible thanks to investment from the University and a £4.2m grant from the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation.

A new site, close to the University’s Bodington Playing Fields, will be developed into an impressive sports facility set to include three full size LED floodlit 3G Football Turf Pitches (FTPs), a four-team changing pavilion with community café, meeting space, and parking facilities.

Bodington Playing Fields is located just three miles north of the main University of Leeds campus and are also home to The Brownlee Centre, the UK’s first purpose-built triathlon training centre and new 1-mile (1.6km) Bodington cycle circuit, one of the longest in the country.

Once completed, the new site will be home to six partner clubs whose 142 teams will have access to fantastic facilities. The facility will also be a central venue for the Garforth Junior Football League and West Riding Girls League – eventually reaching 213 teams. As well as supporting the local community, the scheme will also be an important home to the University’s sports programmes, as well as supporting the Leeds United Foundation and West Riding County FA to deliver a broad range of recreational programmes and activities for the wider community.

Bodington Football Facility visit

Visit by the Football Foundation to the ongoing development of new football facility at Bodington Playing Fields.
Pictured, left to right. Steve Grime – UoL Head of Football, Will Wallace – Football Foundation, Ella Williams – LUUWAFC Captain & LUU Sports Rep, Robert Sullivan – CEO Football Foundation, Suzanne Glavin – UoL Head of Sport, Gawaine Mackenzie-Hogg – UoL Outdoor Operations Manager, Adrian Morris – Football Foundation.

Suzanne Glavin, Head of Sport and Physical Activity at the University of Leeds, said:

“The University is proud to be opening a new facility to support our students and the local community in north Leeds.

“As well as providing an important space for local football clubs in the region and our further investment in the student experience, we hope that it will inspire many more people to become active and we’re looking forward to working with our partners to develop new ways to support the community and create more ways for people to get involved in sport.”

Robert Sullivan, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said:

“It is great news for Leeds that the work at the University has started.

“This is the latest example of investment from our partners, the Premier League, The FA, Government and Sport England, improving grassroots facilities across the country. This funding will enable more people to enjoy the benefits of playing regular sport.”

Sewell Construction have been appointed to carry out the work, with completion expected in the summer of 2022.

Dave Major, Sewell Construction Project Manager added:

“We’re delighted to have been appointed as contractors for this exciting development at the University of Leeds.

“The investment that has been made into this scheme is evident in the dedication from all partners to create a community hub, with greater access to all within the local area.

“To be able to play our part in the City-wide contribution to sport at a local, regional, and national level, is something we’re extremely proud of.”

For more information about the project and to follow its progress visit the University’s campus development webpage.