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University begins major roof replacement

University begins major roof replacement

Lendlease has begun work to replace the roof of the University of Leicester’s engineering building, to ensure that it is preserved for future students.The engineering building is frequently cited as one of the most architecturally significant structures in the country, as it was designed by James Stirling (the namesake of the Stirling Prize) and James Gowan. The project was Mr Stirling’s first major commission, and is regarded as the first postmodern building in the UK. It was also the last in a series of collaborations between Mr Stirling and Mr Gower.The roof itself is particularly famous, as it makes use of a series of 2,500 diamond-shaped glass panels to take full advantage of natural light. Vertical panels of glass are also featured on the tower section that has led to it being affectionately known to students as “the rocket ship”.Five months of preparatory work, including setting up scaffolds and extensive safety nets, were necessary before the roof of the Grade II listed building could be replaced. The task is further complicated by the fact that the building will continue to be used for teaching and research purposes throughout the renovation. The university developed a project charter for all those working on the building to express their commitment to preserving it.The University of Leicester’s estates director Trevor Humphreys said: “The university takes very seriously its responsibility to care for this world famous building. This highly complex, sensitive and logistically challenging project has been meticulously planned over several years.  We have engaged a highly competent consulting team and our partnership with Lendlease to replace the roof will ensure this building remains available for our engineering students to study and learn in, as well as preserving the building for future generations.”The £19.5 million project is designed to allow the building, which was constructed in the 1960s, to extend its functional life by at least another 50 years. The renovation work is set to be completed by the end of 2016. 

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