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Architect returns to Huddersfield Uni for new £30m design

William Li is going back to his roots as a lead architect on the new £30m Barbara Hepworth Building

Posted by Julian Owen | February 23, 2018 | Bricks & mortar

Alumnus of the University of Huddersfield, architect William Li, is returning to the institution as a lead architect on the new £30m Barbara Hepworth Building. 

William graduated with a BA and Diploma in Architecture in 2009, and subsequently joined architecture and building consultancy practice, AHR. 

With offices in Huddersfield and across the UK, AHR was awarded the design brief for a building to house the new school of art, design and architecture. 

William is part of AHR’s delivery team for the landmark 7,500m² building. He said: “It’s very different to design for an area you know so well. I have walked along the Huddersfield Narrow Canal so many times that I know it like the back of my hand, but I also know what students want and what kind of space they will need, having studied there myself. That gave me invaluable insight into the project and its possibilities. 

As students, we had even used some of the existing university buildings as mock projects, and this area was part of that. It has felt very surreal revisiting this in a professional capacity.” 

William Li

William and the AHR team have created a complex cantilever design that complements the natural environment of the adjacent Huddersfield Narrow Canal and the city’s industrial heritage. The architects have also looked to maximise the potential of the sloping site - which has a five-meter change in elevation - by using split levels to deliver two ground floors. 

William added: “Sustainability was absolutely key to this project and we designed the building layout with efficiency at the core, with the aim of achieving BREEAM Excellent status. We are working closely with engineers to maximize ventilation, ensuring that the design creates both efficient and enjoyable spaces for students and staff. 

Located to the south of the town centre, the five-storey Barbara Hepworth Building is the first part of the redevelopment of the area around Queen Street South, which will be known as the Western Campus.


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