Tuesday 27 June 2023

UCLan’s Student Centre and University Square get seal of approval at prestigious awards

Developments at the heart of Preston Campus scoop Royal Town Planning Institute award

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is celebrating after our Student Centre and University Square won a prestigious Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) North West Award on Friday (23 June).

The state-of-the-art development, which sits at the heart of our Preston campus, took the top spot in the ‘Planning for a Successful Economy’ category. Judges praised the ‘striking’ architecture of the Student Centre and University Square, noting that their creation ‘has helped to re-pivot the city centre’.

The Student Centre and square opened in September 2021, with the Centre itself providing our students with support for every step of their journey at UCLan - from enhancing their health and wellbeing, to preparing them for future careers and success.

More widely, combined with University Square, the developments were designed to transform the University’s physical linkage with the City of Preston, providing a “front door” to the University and a safe community space for students, staff and residents.

The conception, planning and delivery of the project involved many overlapping and moving elements, and unique complexities, all tackled innovatively, purposefully and professionally by the University, Lancashire County Council (LCC) and Preston City Council (PCC), with support from many more partners, contractors and professionals besides. Over 2 million working hours were committed to delivering this ground-breaking programme to regenerate an area of more than 10,000m2, with a value of over £80million.

UCLan’s Deputy Chief Executive Ruth Connor said:

“We’re honoured that this award recognises the commitment and investment we are making – not just to our students, by providing them with world-class facilities and support, but to Preston and its people too.

“We want the local community to know that by creating unified and welcoming spaces, they’re going to benefit as well. By investing in our University, we’re investing in Preston too, and we’re very proud of the growing connections between UCLan and the city, as well as local councils and local businesses.”

"We want the local community to know that by creating unified and welcoming spaces, they’re going to benefit as well. "

UCLan’s Deputy Chief Executive Ruth Connor

The Student Centre and University Square were the final parts of UCLan’s £200m Masterplan project, launched in 2015, which set out a vision to create a seamless, sustainable and inviting campus, enhancing the experience for all those visiting the University and benefitting the local area. And the RTPI judges seem to agree that vision has been achieved,

Commenting on UCLan’s entry for the award, the RTPI judges said:

"The judges recognised the project has helped re-pivot the city centre and has led to significant and further investment as part of an improved place agenda. The new educational community and teaching buildings have created a striking flagship architectural response to an area previously defined by poor highways infrastructure and inferior building structures."

Held on Friday evening at Kimpton Clock Tower in Manchester, the RTPI North West brought together people from all over the region, including from local councils and businesses. Some regional category winners will now be put forward for the RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence national awards: those successfully through as national finalists will be announced on 9 October and the winners will be announced at the national awards ceremony in London on 21 November 2023.

RTPI Awards 2023 (North West)01 / 02