ARU Peterborough is Civic Trust regional finalist
Picture: Richard Fraser Photography, www.richardfraserphotography.co.uk
ARU Peterborough could follow in the footsteps of some of the UK’s most celebrated construction projects after being named as a 2024 Civic Trust Awards regional finalist.
Established in 1959, the Civic Trust Awards are the longest running awards of their kind in Europe and recognise “outstanding architecture, planning and design in the built environment”, with a particular focus on how developments contribute to their local communities.
Previous winners of Civic Trust Awards include the London 2012 Olympic Velodrome, the Severn Bridge connecting south Wales and the south west of England, the Royal Festival Hall in London, and the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh.
ARU Peterborough, a major Combined Authority project, is one of only three from across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to be shortlisted as a Civic Trust Award regional finalist this year – the others being the Mill House residential development in Cambridge, and the University of Cambridge’s Passivhaus student accommodation at Lucy Cavendish College.
ARU Peterborough’s nomination is for University House, the first phase of Peterborough’s new university, which welcomed its first students in September 2022.
Cambridge-based MCW architects, winners of the Higher Education Architect of the Year award at the BD Awards in October, designed the three-storey building to reflect the values of Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), offering open access to the community, cross disciplinary collaborative spaces, and visibility of learning, with classrooms and labs facing out towards to the city.
University House has transformed the former brownfield site into a green, sustainable campus. The £30million building features Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS) to support local biodiversity, fossil fuel-free heat and hot water generation, a green roof with photovoltaics, and aluminium solar shading inspired by the design of Peterborough Cathedral’s ceiling.
The development of ARU Peterborough is continuing with the current construction of the third phase of the university, also designed by MCW architects, featuring additional teaching facilities and a public science space.
Professor Ross Renton, Principal of ARU Peterborough, said: “ARU Peterborough is designed and built to serve the people of Peterborough. The Civic Trust Awards highlight projects that make a positive contribution to their local communities, so it’s particularly pleasing that ARU Peterborough has been nominated for these awards.
“As well as being a first-class facility for our students and staff, University House is a fabulous asset for the city and wider region. We’re proud to call it home, and it’s wonderful that it’s receiving attention on the national stage.”
Lien Geens, Associate Director of MCW architects, said: “Collaborating with clients and stakeholders who prioritise a strong sense of community and sustainability is immensely gratifying as we engage in the design of buildings and landscapes that have the power to positively impact lives. Being acknowledged for our efforts through a nomination for a Civic Trust Award makes it even more special.
“There is a buzz of excitement when we see the project is brought to life by the people it is designed to support. And this is just stage one of ARU Peterborough!”
Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Dr Nik Johnson said: “It’s great to see further recognition of the contribution the fantastic design of ARU Peterborough’s campus is making to the city, and everyone involved should feel very proud to have made the finals of these well-respected awards.”
Councillor Peter Hiller, Cabinet Member for Housing, Growth and Regeneration at Peterborough City Council, said: “It’s a commendable achievement for ARU Peterborough to be shortlisted for a Civic Trust Award.
“The university has been consciously designed and built to meet the needs of students, employers, and the local economy – transforming a former brownfield site in the middle of the city. Since the campus opened in September 2022, ARU Peterborough has made a significant positive impact to the local community. We’re proud to be a part of the partnership and excited for future buildings and developments coming forward.”
ARU Peterborough is a partnership between Peterborough City Council, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority and Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), which was recently named Times Higher Education University of the Year 2023.
Alongside the national Civic Trust Awards, regional finalists can also be considered for Pro Tem Awards, Selwyn Goldsmith Awards or AABC Conservation Awards. The winners will be announced at a ceremony in March 2024.