Flagship new building inspiring our students

Transformative teaching spaces created in a stunning new flagship development on campus will provide a ‘truly inspirational’ environment to enhance collaborative learning.

The Esther Simpson Building is an exciting new facility for the School of Law and LUBS

Esther Simpson Building opens its doors. October 2021

The Esther Simpson Building – an exciting new facility for the School of Law and LUBS – has officially opened its doors. 

The innovative teaching centre provides world-class facilities that support participative learning and create an inspirational setting for staff and students.

Aligning with the aims of the University’s new strategy, it’s also home to collaborative and inclusive learning spaces to enable the delivery of activities to better equip students for working in a global environment.

Executive Dean of LUBS, Professor Julia Bennell, said: “The Esther Simpson Building will give us a platform to deliver something truly unique for Business School students, and help us to equip them with the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to make a real difference to society.

“The teaching facilities provided by the building are truly state-of-the-art and among the best in the UK. It will offer an inspiring environment for our staff and students.

“The technology-enhanced collaborative learning spaces, specialist observation laboratories, trading rooms and a magnificent Harvard-style lecture theatre are critical parts of our strategy to lead in interactive pedagogies.

“I would like to offer my sincere thanks to everybody who has contributed to delivering this project. It’s a wonderful achievement and one that will go a long way to supporting us in delivering our new, ambitious University and Business School strategies.”

Professor Louise Ellison, Head of the School of Law, said: “We’re incredibly excited about the opening of the Esther Simpson building.

“We aim to create a campus environment that’s truly inspirational and that meets the standards we set as one of the UK’s leading law schools.

“This new building will help provide a transformative teaching space close to our Liberty Building home on the western campus and allow us to further develop our student experience.”

Stunning new gateway

The building was handed over to the University by construction company BAM in early September, with the final fit-out completed in the past few weeks. It hosts a variety of teaching spaces, a new café and a stunning sculpture.

Esther Simpson Building opens its doors. October 2021Staff and students can relax and unwind in the new café

Director of Estates, Steve Gilley, said: “We’re absolutely delighted with the Esther Simpson Building – it’s a fabulous design that contributes to the University’s wider ambition to create an environment that promotes learning, innovation and enterprise.

“This is the result of diligent project management in Estates and strong collaboration with colleagues in LUBS and Law.

“The building also creates a stunning new gateway for campus. Our University community will now be able to easily navigate its way from Clarendon Road into the heart of campus in a matter of minutes. The route is fully accessible, with newly refurbished pedestrian paths and tactile paving, in addition to a new accessible ramp installed along the route towards Storm Jameson.”

Watch a video showcasing the new facilities in the development.

The building is also a fitting tribute to the woman it was named after. Esther Simpson was a Leeds graduate who spent nearly all her working life helping resettle scholars who fled from totalitarian regimes across the world.

Esther Simpson Building opens its doors. October 2021

State-of-the-art lecture theatres allow for easier collaboration

State-of-the-art facilities

Trading rooms

The Esther Simpson Building will benefit from having two 24-seat trading rooms. The primary trading room will be a real showpiece for the building and is housed in a glass room visible from the main reception area. Having these rooms will allow students to practice trading in a safe environment using real-time information. It helps bridge the gap between theory and practice, giving students the opportunity to apply finance theories to decision making through real-world scenarios.

Behaviour labs

These are divided into three areas – the data collection lab, observation room and the boardroom. These are a real differentiator for the Business School and will enable students and researchers to undertake real-time observational research and data collection.

Lecture theatres

As well as a wide range of teaching spaces, the building also has two state-of-the-art lecture theatres – a 240-seat Harvard-style lecture theatre and a 390-seat traditional lecture theatre. The Harvard-style lecture theatre provides good vision for all users, and each seat will turn 180 degrees to allow for easier collaboration. Both lecture theatres are designed with plenty of space between the seats, have individual power supplies, are decorated to promote concentration and allow students to interact digitally with academic staff.

Esther Simpson Building opens its doors. October 2021

‘To Leaf is to Learn’ is the inspiring message on the sculpture installed as part of the project

Stunning sculpture

The building is also home to a striking new sculpture installation, which joins many other unique pieces to form the University artwork trail.

The words ‘To Leaf is to Learn’, scripted by Poet Laureate and the University’s Professor of Poetry, Simon Armitage, adorn the ‘curtain’ sculpture and illustrate the concept of the artwork representing a notebook sheet.

World-renowned Spanish sculptor, Juanjo Novella, who created the piece, said: “This is my first artwork in the UK and I am honoured!

“I’m very pleased with the sculpture. It had to be beautiful and meaningful while meeting the environmental and place demands.

“It’s a curtain – a wall created with leaves of paper torn from a notebook. Its sinuous shape creates curves that modulate light and stimulate the urban landscape.

“I like to imagine people around my sculptures – touching them, leaning on them, children playing. I want this work to be a living element that adds a sense of identity to the place where it’s located.”

Layla Bloom, Curator of the University Galleries, added: “Novella’s ‘curtain’ sculpture is a stunning addition to the University’s growing public art trail. 

“The collaboration between artist and poet adds such an inspiring message for our students, welcoming them to the joy of learning. It also highlights our commitment to environmental sustainability – on a grand scale.”

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