BRAGG building arial view

Sir William Henry Bragg Building is now open

The outstanding Sir William Henry Bragg Building opened its doors to the University community at the start of the autumn term.

The building, which has been under construction for the last four years, is home to the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences. It will position the University as a world leading research platform. The building is named after Sir William Henry Bragg, whose pioneering research at the University in the early 1900s won a Nobel prize and unlocked some of the biggest discoveries in modern science.

A magnificent structure

The new-build, low-carbon, glass-and-steel complex is seven-storeys and includes high-tech teaching rooms and laboratories. These seven storeys include a circa 2,400m2 basement; a hermetically sealed, negatively pressured, electrostatic environment, designed so that vibrations from passing traffic do not interfere with the ultra-sensitive laboratory instruments. This equipment includes advanced electron microscope technology for investigating and fabricating new materials.

The building has achieved an BREEAM Excellent rating for sustainability. The light filled atrium provides social breakout and collaboration space for academics, students, and professionals. The 1915 café is also designed to host a range of working, exhibition, and social activities.

People working on balcony in Bragg Building

Commenting on the building, Steve Gilley, Director of Estates and Facilities said:

“The opening of the Sir William Bragg building will bring so much to the University community. It will be a thriving hub of research and education for the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, a new home for the schools of Computing and Physics, and the location for the Bragg Centre for Materials Research. It will also be a welcoming, accessible, and modernised gateway into campus.

“My thanks go to all the teams who have been involved in this project, internal and external, from inception right through to completion. I am delighted that this building will be a collaborative, supportive and safe environment for the entire University community and will foster a culture of collaboration, across the University and beyond.”

Exploring the boundary between art and science

Gracing the exterior of the building is a sculpture designed by artist Sara Barker. The installation is made from lightweight welded aluminium and a variety of shapes, motifs and colours convey ideas linked to science and engineering – and make connections with Leeds as a former centre of the textile industry and as a creative city.

The artwork is titled ‘The Worlds of If’ – a reference to the possibilities that open up when scientists and engineers work together and share ideas. That philosophy of collaboration will underpin research in the building, on topics such as the development of new materials, more energy-efficient computing devices and drug discovery.

The Bragg Building with light trails during the evening

Science supporting industry

Combining fundamental scientific discovery and research-led teaching with applied science and engineering activities to support industry is one aim of this building.

The Bragg Centre for Materials Research is also located within the building. Work will focus on manipulating and developing materials at the scale of individual atoms.

Professor Edmund Linfield, Director of the Bragg Centre for Materials Research, said:

“The superb facilities in the Bragg building will allow us to engineer materials at the atomic and molecular scale, and undertake internationally-leading science and engineering. It will also allow us to strengthen further our extensive interaction with academia and industry and build new research partnerships.”

People working inside the lab at bragg building

Photography of the Sir William Henry Bragg Building

Find out more about the project. 

Esther Simpson Exterior

New flagship building is a stunning new gateway to campus

The Esther Simpson building, a new flagship teaching facility for the School of Law and LUBS officially opened its doors at the start of term.   

The innovative teaching centre provides world-class facilities that support participative learning and create an inspirational setting for staff and students. It is also home to collaborative and inclusive learning spaces to enable the delivery of activities to support students to develop the knowledge, skills, behaviours and professional competencies to better equip them for working in a global environment. 

Building completion

The building was handed over to the University by construction company BAM in early September and over the last few weeks the final fit-out stage has been completed. The building hosts a variety of teaching spaces, a new café and a beautifully designed new artwork sculpture.  

Commenting on the building, Director of Estates, Steve Gilley said:

“We are absolutely delighted with the Esther Simpson building, it is a fabulous building which contributes to the University’s wider ambition to create an environment that promotes learning, innovation and enterprise.  

“The success of this project has been a result of diligent project management by colleagues in Estates and strong collaboration with colleagues in LUBS and Law. Throughout, we have worked together to ensure everything worked in the best possible manner.  

“The building also creates a stunning new gateway for campus. Our University community will now be able to easily navigate their way from Clarendon Road into the heart of campus in a matter of minutes. The route is fully accessible with newly refurbished pedestrian paths and tactile paving in addition to an accessible ramp installed along the route towards Storm Jameson.” 

Executive Dean of the Business School, Julia Bennell said:

“The teaching facilities provided by the Esther Simpson building are truly state-of-the-art and among the best in the UK. It will offer an inspiring environment for our staff and students. The technology enhanced collaborative learning spaces, specialist observation laboratories, trading rooms and a magnificent Harvard style lecture theatres are critical parts of our strategy to lead in interactive pedagogies. 

“I would like to offer my sincere thanks to everybody who has contributed to delivering this project. It is a wonderful achievement and one that will go a long way to supporting us in delivering our new ambitious University and Business School strategies. 

“The building will give us a platform to deliver something truly unique for business school students and help us to equip them with the knowledge, skills, and behaviours needed to make a real difference to society.” 

Benefits of the teaching spaces

Trading rooms 

The Esther Simpson Building will benefit from having two 24 seat trading rooms. The primary trading room will be a real showpiece for the building and is housed in a glass room visible from the main reception area. Having the trading rooms will allow students to practice trading in a safe environment using real time information. It helps bridge the gap between theory and practice, giving students the opportunity to apply finance theories to decision making through real world scenarios 

Behaviour labs

There are behaviour labs that are divided into three areas, the data collection lab, observation room and the boardroom. These are a real differentiator for the Business School and will enable students and researchers to undertake real-time observational research and data collection. 

Lecture theatres

As well as a wide range of teaching spaces the building has two state-of-the-art lecture theatres – a 240 seat Harvard Style lecture theatre and a 390-seat traditional lecture theatre. The Harvard-style lecture theatre is gently raked to give good vision for all users and each seat will turn 180 degrees to allow for easier collaboration. Both lecture theatres are designed with plenty of space between the seats, have individual power supplies, are decorated to promote concentration and allow students to interact digitally with the academic staff. 

Professor Louise Ellison, Head of School, School of Law added:

 “The School of Law is incredibly excited about the opening of the Esther Simpson building. We aim to create a campus environment that is truly inspirational and that meets the standards that we set as one of the UK’s leading law schools.  

“This new building will help provide a transformative teaching space close to our Liberty Building home on the Western Campus and allow us to further develop our student experience.” 

Beautifully designed sculpture

The building is also home to a striking new sculpture installation which joins many other unique pieces to form the University artwork trail. The words titled “To Leaf is to Learn” scripted by University Poet Laureate and Professor of Poetry, Simon Armitage    adorn the sculpture and illustrate the concept of the artwork representing a notebook sheet.  

Commenting on the artwork and the unique opportunity to create the sculpture, world-renowned Spanish sculptor, Juanjo Novella said:   

“This is my first artwork in the UK, and I am honoured! I am very pleased with the sculpture. I planned this project as a realm of limitations such as a lack of adequate space to display a sculpture, obstacles such as the tree, the fence, and the need to keep the electrical substation hidden. Those cons were a real challenge and I enjoyed it. The result had to be a unique answer, it had to be beautiful and meaningful while meeting the environmental and place demands. 

“I’m also very happy it forms part of the University of Leeds art trail. It is distinguished from other art routes by its expressive silence and elegant tone. The pieces are part of the architecture, they are not ‘screaming’, all of them remain calm and their expression is slow and deep. It also represents a historical trace in terms of time.”

Layla Bloom, Curator, University Galleries commented:

“Novella’s ‘Curtain’ sculpture is a stunning addition to the University’s growing public art trail. The collaboration between artist and poet adds such an inspiring message for our students, welcoming them to the joy of learning.  It also highlights the University’s commitment to environmental sustainability – on a grand scale.

The Esther Simpson Building

Find out more about the project.

Cleaning Operative cleaning sinks in Newlyn Building

Committed to providing a safe, clean environment on campus

Cleaning Services have published their new transitional Service Level Agreement. This transitional SLA has been established due to the requirements for enhanced cleaning of campus facilities and the continued uncertainties around transitional and future ways of work on campus. It sets out how Cleaning Services will continue to ensure that campus is a safe and clean environment conducive to learning and working. It is an output specification that can be readily adapted to service requirements if circumstances change over the coming months.  

All members of the University community will notice more frequent cleaning of high footfall areas such as main entrances, internal access routes and washroom facilities. The team will also focus on the sanitising of high touch point areas. This includes door handles, handrails and reception area fixtures and fittings. If you have any concerns about the frequency or quality of cleaning on campus, please let us know via email CleaningComments@leeds.ac.uk 

As well as the increased frequency and standard of cleaning on campus, personal responsibility is another key part of infection control. Cleaning Services are providing sanitising sprays and blue roll across campus so that staff and students can clean working areas before and after using them to reduce the spread of the virus. If you notice more sanitising products are needed in any areas, please advise us through the online ordering form.   

Alongside working on campus to keep it clean and safe throughout the pandemic, the team has put in place several initiatives over the last couple of years aimed at delivering a more professional service to campus. They have undertaken suitable training to ensure that they can provide the necessary standard of service and new cleaning products and equipment have been introduced to improve the standards of cleaning across campus, including sanitising spraying equipment.  

The new methods and products introduced have helped the team to work in a more sustainable manner. For example, the service has purchased new battery powered i-mops which use 75% less water and enable a reduction in the amount of cleaning chemicals used. They have also now moved to purchasing super-concentrate cleaning products enabling less plastic waste. Cleaning Services received the Blueprint Changemaker Award at the 2021 Sustainability Awards to recognise these developments. 

The service has introduced new uniforms for the team with a range of different options. This means that all team members can choose to wear something they feel comfortable in. The new uniforms demonstrate clearly to the rest of the campus community that the cleaning team are a well-trained and professional service. Finally, the team have also adopted new job titles to more accurately represent a modern and professional service:

  • Senior Supervisors are now Operations Managers
  • Cleaning Supervisors are now Operations Team Leaders
  • Charge Hands are now Assistant Team Leaders
  • Cleaners are now Cleaning Operatives
Thousands of trees planted at Leeds Brownlee Triathlon Centre

5,000 trees planted at the Brownlee Triathlon Centre

University of Leeds and the Environment Agency plant 5000 trees at the Brownlee Triathlon Centre as part of natural measures to reduce flood risk.

The University of Leeds in partnership with the Environment Agency have planted more than 5000 trees at the University’s Brownlee Triathlon Centre to reduce flood risk to the Leeds area downstream.

Tree planting at Bodington Playing Fields, where the Brownlee Triathlon Centre is located, took place between February and March, and is part of a wider programme of natural flood management techniques being introduced into the Leeds catchment as part of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme’s flagship Natural Flood Management Project. The project is a great example of the University’s partnership approach to addressing the climate crisis through collaborative research and innovation.

The Brownlee Triathlon Centre and surrounding area was earmarked as the first urban pilot site last year as part of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme’s Natural Flood Management Project – looking at alternative and sustainable ways to manage flood risk and increase resilience to climate change. This will work alongside, and complement, traditional engineering being implemented through the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme, whilst also creating habitat for wildlife and helping regenerate rural and urban areas through tourism.

Thousands of trees planted at Leeds Brownlee Triathlon Centre

The scheme is also part of the University of Leeds Living Lab programme, with the site to be used for live research projects to test sustainable solutions; be an integral part of University teaching, and be a location for local schools and communities to visit.

Five sites have been set up to implement natural flood risk management techniques throughout the river catchment from the source of the River Aire, at Malham, through to Leeds City Centre, and are using natural measures such as tree planting and woodland creation, wetland scrapes and leaky barriers to reduce flood risk and benefit the environment.

James Wright, Head of Grounds and Gardens at the University of Leeds, said:

“We are delighted to have been a key partner in this scheme and assisted in the planting of 5000 trees as part of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme Natural Flood Management Project. This work has involved exceptional collaboration between academic and operational colleagues at the University of Leeds and the Environment Agency.

The site will provide significant research opportunities for University of Leeds students and academics for many years undertaking research in a range of specialisms. The site provides a great engagement opportunity for the local community to fully understand the range of NFM solutions installed in the Aire Valley catchment and research undertaken at the University.”

Fiona Sugden, The Environment Agency’s Leeds NFM Project Manager, said:

“It’s fantastic news that 5000 trees have now been planted at this site. The creation of a woodland area will have multiple benefits for people and wildlife – not just reducing flood risk downstream, but will benefit the environment by creating new woodland habitat, boosting biodiversity, help mitigate climate change, whilst also providing valuable opportunities for people to understand how well natural flood techniques perform.

The Triathlon Centre is a real asset for students and the local community, and we hope that visitors will also be able to learn about how effective natural flood management can be.”

Natural flood management is an important part of the Environment Agency’s strategy in protecting communities from flood risk and they work with natural processes and use natural flood management measures where they are technically feasible and provide good value.

It can be a cost-effective and sustainable way to manage flood risk alongside, and supporting, traditional engineering, while creating habitat for wildlife and helping regenerate rural and urban areas through tourism.

For more information about the University’s response to the climate crisis.

For out more about the University of Leeds Living Lab.

Bains wing and The great Wall

Local and Community History Month 2021

May is Local and Community History Month. To celebrate, we’ve collated a collection of old photographs of campus to help increase awareness of local history.

The Bains Wing/Great Hall

  • Construction started on The Great Hall in 1884 and took 10 years to complete.
  • Along with Clothworkers Buildings and Baines Wing, the building was designed by Alfred Waterhouse (famous for his work on the Natural History Museum in London).
  • The red brick style waterhouse used for the buildings helped coin the term ‘red brick university’.

An old photo of The Great Hall

Leeds University Business School (LUBS)

  • The Leeds University Business School (LUBS) acquired the 19th century Maurice Keyworth, previously owned by Leeds Grammar School
  • LUBS have since constructed further modern buildings around the Maurice Keyworth, such as the Clarendon Building and Charles Thackrah Building.

An old photo of the LUBS building which used to be a Grammar school

The Brotherton Library

  • Before the Brotherton Library was built, the undercroft of The Great Hall housed all of the University’s library collections
  • In 1927, Edward Brotherton donated £100,000 to the University to fund its first purpose-built library
  • Today, the Beaux-Arts building is Grade ll listed.

An old photo of the Brotherton Library

Find out more about the history of the University of Leeds.

Workspace at FBS

Facility boost for Biological Sciences

The Faculty of Biological Sciences teaching and research facilities have been boosted at Leeds following the completion of the refurbishment of the Garstang building, levels 4 and 9. Once the finishing touches have been completed, the floor will be open for business!

Investment and improvements in the Faculty of Biological Sciences have created a new flexible model for open laboratory and office environments, facilitating joint work, all of which will enhance research capacity, research experience and associated research outputs and income.

The improvement works have also reduced the University’s energy consumption and carbon footprint, through upgrades such as window replacement and improved energy efficiencies through heating, cooling and ventilation.

Commenting on the project, Sarah Bacsich, Estates Project Manager said:

“We hope the Faculty and staff enjoy and benefit from working in these new areas and must thank everyone who has been part of this project, the Faculty, estates colleagues, consultant and contractor teams who have all worked together and remained focused on the end result, despite the challenges the project met along the way.

“Looking ahead, the improvements and new facilities on Level 4 and 9 now provide an exciting new environment for the Faculty of Biological Sciences research staff and students – this new home will encourage new ways of working to champion groundbreaking research.”

Karen Birch, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Biological Sciences commented:

“We are all delighted that this phase of the development of the Faculty is complete. Seeing the finished design is really exciting and stimulates the imagination for pushing the boundaries of biomedical research. I am particularly thrilled that our excellent scientists, from postgraduates to Faculty academics will experience working in such a high quality, modern, airy and stimulating space. This new environment will enable enhanced collaborative research to underpin our vision of exploring biological challenges to accelerate real world impact and translation. What a great environment in which to work and develop the science leaders of the future!”

Refurbishment of Level 4 and Level 9 – Virtual tour video

You can get a feel for the new facilities through our virtual tour video:

 

Our external-facing article is also now live on the FBS website.

Find out more about the refurbishment of the Garstang Building.

The Garstang building, levels 4 and 9

Storm Jameson Exterior

Hail the women in research and education

This year we celebrated the women our buildings are named after.  

To mark the celebrations for this year’s International Women’s Day, here are some of the iconic pioneering women in scientific research and education that our campus buildings have been named after. We look forward to doing more of the same in future.

Marjorie Ziff

Marjorie Ziff MBE is an English philanthropist known for her assistance to the Leeds Jewish community. She is now a patron of the Leeds Jewish Welfare Board.

Ziff is an honorary graduate and a long-standing friend of the University of Leeds. 

As a result of her help within the community of Leeds, Ziff received an MBE in the 2011 New Year Honours.

Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Building Exterior

Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Building

Esther Simpson

University of Leeds graduate Esther Simpson was a dedicated, honourable lobbyist and organiser for the Academic Assistance Council. She helped to restructure the cultural and intellectual landscape of the Western World. 

Esther helped hundreds of refugees during World War II, placing them in different work positions all over the world. She received an OBE in 1956 as a result of her efforts.

Esther Simpson CGI

Artist’s impression of the Esther Simpson building

Irene Manton

Irene Manton was a British botanist and Professor of Botany at the University of Leeds, well-known for her study of ferns and algae. 

She was made the first female President of the Linnean Society of London. 

Manton established the biological use of electron microscopy. 

Irene Manton Exterior

Irene Manton building

Storm Jameson 

Margaret Ethel Storm Jameson was an English journalist and author, recognised for her novels and reviews. 

Jameson was President of the British International PEN Association , and actively helped refugee writers. 

She joined the National Union of Women Suffrage Societies, and in 1913, participated in the Women’s Pilgrimage to show the House of Commons how many women wanted the vote. 

Storm Jameson Exterior

Storm Jameson Court

Creating your home study or home working haven

Whilst many of us are currently working and studying off-campus, it is important to have a workspace or study area set up to create a happy and comfortable environment.

Penny Tiffney, University Interior Designer, talks more on creating calm, comfortable and inspiring working environments at home.

“I have had the opportunity to design many of our new learning and teaching workspaces on campus. In doing so some of the key factors me and my team aim to achieve are to create warm, inviting spaces, where our students can spend a good few hours comfortably working.

These spaces can come in different shapes and sizes, and whilst we know, for example, bright and colourful environments can inspire and motivate, there are many small ways in which we can create an environment to help us have productive days studying or working at home”.

Here are Penny’s top tips on how to do this:

Penny tiffney

1. Choose a designated working space where you feel happy.

A place of focus, where you can make the most of the natural light and sit comfortably at a table or desk. This space could be in your bedroom perhaps, a small area where you have a surface to work on or a desk, or it could be on a kitchen table which offers more space to spread out. Have a look around your home and experiment with different spaces.

2. Form good habits in your workspace.

Have a routine in your work schedule, where you know you have focus time and have time away from your work. During focus time you may wish to have a clear and tidy work area where you can fully concentrate. When having time away from your work be sure to get some fresh air and move your body to release any tension that has built up.

3. Make your space work for you.

Your space is personal to you, so decorate and ordain it with the things you love and inspire you, whether that be plants and candles to family photos and artwork.

Parkinson Building lights switching off

Christmas shutdown advice

We are committed to lowering our carbon emissions and this year’s extended Christmas shutdown period gives us an opportunity to cut energy waste.

We know that working patterns at the University have changed with many of us working from home for significant proportions of the time. Those of us that are visiting campus for essential reasons may be on site infrequently or less regularly than before. It is important that any equipment that is used is switched off (where possible) between campus visits, and particularly as we approach the Christmas break.

Despite the majority of the University estate being unused over the Christmas period, on average each year we still consume a total of 155,000 kWh of electricity and 143,000 kWh of heat on Christmas Day.

This is as much electricity as 40 average UK homes use in a full year!

This Christmas the shutdown period runs from Monday 21 December to Monday 4 January – with fewer staff on Campus, those of us that are present can have a real impact by:

  • switching off lights and closing windows
  • ensuring as much lab equipment as possible is turned off before you leave – drying cabinets and incubators etc.; and
  • checking IT equipment, including screens and projectors are turned off.
  • don’t forget less obvious energy wasters, too. Printers, hot water boilers and microwaves can all be unplugged during the Christmas break.

We understand some equipment is required to maintain safety or is being used for research purposes and therefore needs to remain on. However, switching off any equipment which can be turned off will help to reduce carbon emissions.

Thank you for your continued support, and we hope you have a great Christmas!

Parkinson Building

Creating a campus for everyone

A key aim for the University is to have a campus that is accessible for everyone.

The Facilities Directorate has been working hard to improve the accessibility of existing areas of campus, as well as to make equality of access a top consideration in the planning of new buildings.

In light of #DisabilityHistoryMonth we thought that this would be a great opportunity to showcase the accessibility works that have taken place across campus over the past years.

Discovery Way opens up campus

The completion of Nexus on the eastern edge of the University has opened up a new accessible route onto campus. The Discovery Way entrance is located on Woodhouse Lane, and provides a step-free route to the Orange Zone car park and E C Stoner Building, and from there to The Edge, Roger Stevens, Chancellor’s Court and beyond.

Nexus Discovery Way

Chemistry lift completed

The new lift in the School of Chemistry has now been completed, providing an accessible route to lecture theatres A and B.

Accessible water fountain fitted

A bespoke-designed water fountain has been installed on the Precinct. The fountain has two water spouts, one of which is positioned so that it is easily accessible for wheelchair users. Fill up your water bottle there and help with the University’s #2023PlasticFree Pledge!

Campus map updated with new defibrillators

The interactive campus map has been updated to show the locations of new defibrillators which have been fitted at Henry Price, Nexus and in Clothworker’s Court.

Further improvements to external steps on campus

There have been further improvements made to external steps across campus. Handrails have been fitted on the steps under the Roger Stevens Building leading to the Astbury Centre and on the steps leading down to the Edward Boyle Library from the Social Sciences Building. The steps have been lined with yellow paint to further improve campus accessibility.

Edward Boyle Steps

Ensuring digital accessibility for all

In response to new legislation setting a higher expectation for digital accessibility, the University has been taking steps to recognise where accessibility can be improved across our digital estate. An accessibility statement has been published on the University’s corporate website explaining which areas of the estate are not yet fully accessible, and how we plan to improve their accessibility.
The University has also engaged a third-party auditor to test our websites’ compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Following on from this the University Communications team is running awareness sessions for relevant staff across the University to explain what is needed to improve our accessibility further.

Makeover for University’s main entrance

A large project to improve the look and general accessibility around the main entrance to the University has now been completed. Previously the area where the Michael Sadler Building meets the side of the Parkinson Building had sloping feathered steps on one side, and uneven ground without a clear pathway on the other. These feathered steps have been removed and replaced with a green area featuring a newly planted semi-mature tree. On the other side, the seating area has been redone with more attractive furniture, improved landscaping and clear accessible routes to allow easy access from Woodhouse Lane onto University Road.

University of Leeds campus entrance

Parkinson Building now accessible for all

The Parkinson Building, our most iconic building on campus, is now more accessible than ever following the completion of work to upgrade the Parkinson steps and handrails and install a lift at the main entrance of the building. For the first time in its history, the University has made it possible for all visitors, students and staff to enter the Parkinson Building together using the main entrance.

Sabiha Patel, Head of Equality and Inclusion, commented: “I am grateful to the University and delighted with this development to Parkinson Building. Full access to our buildings is an essential first step to inclusion. Everyone should now be able to enter the building easily and take advantage of all the opportunities it affords.”