Simon Warren and Craig Stott from Project Office
Project Office, which is a design and research collaboration within Leeds Beckett’s School of Art, Architecture and Design, were shortlisted for their work on the New Wortley Community Centre in Leeds.
With no funds for architectural consultancy, the New Wortley Community Association approached Leeds Beckett for help with the project.
The university’s Project Office coordinated the design team and helped to produce the construction drawings with graduate employees, while landscape architecture students designed the external realm, graphics students designed signage and product design students produced built-in furniture as part of their degree coursework.
Simon Warren, Senior Lecturer at Leeds Beckett University, oversees Project Office alongside Senior Lecturer Craig Stott.
Simon said: “This is a tremendous achievement for everyone involved; students, the community, professionals and academics have collaborated over a long period, working in a unique way to produce this building.”
Eighty students have been involved in the project from inception to completion, including second year architecture student Vahagn Mkrtchyan. He said: “Overall the project was a very rewarding experience that I would recommend to all architecture and design students.”
The RIBAJ MacEwan Award recognises work and projects that go the ‘extra mile’ to provide a wider benefit to society and the communities in which they are based.
Project Office has been listed in the Community Endeavours category and has been nominated alongside 23 other projects across the UK.
The transformation of New Wortley Community Centre attracted a host of fresh users, volunteers and opportunities and it now provides a pivotal role in one of the city’s most disadvantaged communities.
Senior Lecturer Craig Stott said: “We are particularly pleased to be longlisted for the MacEwen Award as this is the major award in the UK for architecture that is about its social responsibility and we believe it recognises the role that universities and their students can have on the world outside of the institution.
“Project Office is currently working again with New Wortley Community Association on a new innovative social housing scheme. We are also designing art studios in Scarborough and a new textile, health and community complex in Bradford.
“Students benefit from this type of experience as they engage with real clients and users in the ‘real-world’. They also produce something that is of value to the community and develop a range of practical skills that will help them, particularly once they graduate.”
Project Office is one of 12 projects shortlisted for the RIBAJ MacEwan Award. The overall winner will be announced at the end of the month.