Major milestone for landmark building project

Construction of the Sir William Henry Bragg Building has entered the final phase.

A computer-generated image of how the Sir William Henry Bragg Building will look when completed

Due to be completed in just four months’ time, the project represents a significant investment in a new integrated campus for the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences.

Facilities will include first-class laboratory and specialised teaching spaces, enabling cutting-edge research and outstanding student experience, whilst enhancing our research power and strengthening collaboration with industry.

Although timescales were impacted due to covid-19, this marks a major milestone in the overall programme. If all goes according to plan, equipment will be moved into the building from February 2021, with the aim of completing the entire project ahead of the 2021-22 academic year.

Estates Senior Project Manager, David Oldroyd, said: “We’re really pleased to confirm that construction is due to be complete in February 2021.

“At the moment, the project contractor, BAM, is focusing on key aspects, including the ongoing installation of lab furniture, laying of soft floor finishes and the final decorations.

“This next phase involves the practical elements of installing fixtures and fittings and specialist connections inside to enable equipment from the current labs and buildings to be migrated into the new building. It’s envisaged this process will take about six months. During this time, we will also be installing furniture and completing the audio-visual installations in the building.

“In the current climate, the safety of our staff and students remains a priority, so we will seek to move staff in when it is safe to do so next year. More precise details will follow nearer the time.”

Sir William Henry Bragg Building enters final phase of construction. October 2020

What some of the new lab spaces will look like

Exploring the boundary between art and science

A large sculpture was installed on the side of the building in August. Created by artist Sara Barker, the artwork is made from lightweight welded aluminium, with a variety of shapes, motifs and colours conveying ideas linked to science and engineering – and also making connections with Leeds as a former centre of the textile industry and as a creative city. 

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. 

As people walk around the sculpture, the symbols that represent that research are gradually revealed – the Bragg equation: nλ = 2 d sin θ.   

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 new building, on topics such as the development of new materials, more energy-efficient computing devices and drug discovery.

Sir William Henry Bragg Building enters final phase of construction. October 2020

A large sculpture has been installed on the side of the building, exploring the boundary between art and science

Future-proofing our research

Once complete, the building will be home to the School of Physics and Astronomy, the School of Computing and the Bragg Centre for Materials Research. It will also accommodate the Royce Institute ‘Atoms to Devices’ activity and provide a contiguous space for the ‘Robotics at Leeds’ group

Dr Jim Young is Deputy Head of School, School of Chemical and Process Engineering, and Programme Director Integrated Campus for the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences.

He said: “My thanks go to all those involved in the construction phase, where enormous effort has been put into minimising delays due to the pandemic.

“This new building will provide researchers with facilities that will future-proof our research activity in Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University for decades to come.”

Further information

Regular updates and images from the project are posted on the Campus Developments website, which also includes an FAQ section covering everything from what happens after construction to specific information relevant to colleagues who will eventually move into the building. 

Colleagues are also welcome to contact the Estates team with any further questions or comments.

Posted in: