UTC Swindon triumphant at 2015 West of England Regional LABC Building Excellence Awards

By Anita Jaynes on 14 July, 2015

UTC Swindon has won the Best Educational Building at the 2015 West of England Regional LABC (Local Authority Building Control) Building Excellence Awards.

Winning the award sees UTC Swindon shortlisted for the LABC Grand Finals, which takes place on Tuesday 10 November 2015 at the Lancaster Hotel, London.

UTC Swindon was also nominated for the Best Change of use of an Existing Building or Conversion and Best Public Service Building at the awards ceremony which took place at Bristol City Centre Marriott.

The state-of-the-art £10 million site is home to what Prime Minister David Cameron described as a “remarkable school.” Nick Gibb MP, Minister of State for School Reform, called UTC Swindon “one of the best school buildings” he has ever seen.

The stunning architecture and high quality build, provided by Scott Brownrigg and BAM respectively, includes light-filled workshops and classrooms designed to imitate real life workplaces. The site also houses a lecture theatre and a hub area where students can generate ideas, socialise and inspire others.

As part of the original Great Western Rail works, the UTC Swindon site creates a link between the engineering history and the engineering future of the local area, with the Old School Building and the iconic Water Tower featuring prominently. Both structures, which are Grade II listed, were treated sympathetically, with the Water Tower being restored and brought back into educational use.

Paul Inman, Chair of Governors at UTC Swindon and Pro Vice Chancellor at Oxford Brookes University, commented: “We are delighted that UTC Swindon has been recognised at the Building Excellence Awards. I must pay tribute to the architects Scott Brownrigg who have turned what was already a historically significant site into a truly inspirational, state-of-art space. Oxford Brookes is proud to be a sponsor of this innovative and important educational facility which will produce the next generation of engineering experts.”

Jon James, director at Scott Brownrigg and the architect that designed the UTC Swindon building, said: “We are delighted and proud that UTC Swindon has won the regional LABC award for Best Educational Building. It’s a real credit to the team that we have been recognised by the LABC with this prestigious award. It celebrates a unique building and the hard work, enthusiasm and dedication of all involved from start to finish. From day one, our client and the entire professional team set out to achieve something quite special, which would provide a clear link between ‘historic’ engineering and ‘engineering the future’. The design concept references the historic setting both physically and through the significant scientific discoveries made on the site. This has breathed new life into the buildings and most importantly provided opportunities for the next generation.”

Angela Barker-Dench, Principal at UTC Swindon, also commented: “It’s a fantastic honour to win the Best Educational Building awards at the 2015 West of England Regional LABC Building Excellence Awards. We’re proud of the incredible building we occupy at UTC Swindon. The site plays a big part in nurturing and inspiring our students. We are now looking forward to the Grand Finals in November where hopefully our outstanding building will get further recognition.”

The 2015 West of England Regional LABC Building Excellence Awards celebrates all aspects of the construction industry across the region. As well as aesthetics, they recognise technical innovation, sustainability and high performance.

UTC Swindon opened its doors in September 2014. It caters for 600 students aged 14 to 19, providing courses for young people who aspire to a career in engineering. Students at the college can gain the skills necessary across all sectors of the engineering industries.

UTC Swindon is run by a trust sponsored by Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells and Oxford Brookes University. There are over 90 different industry partners involved with the University Technical College.

Pictured above: Angela-Barker-Dench accepts 2015 West of England Regional LABC Building-Excellence award