UEA approves plans for new £65m teaching building

UEA has approved plans for a new £65m Faculty of Arts and Humanities building that will also allow refurbishment of the grade-II listed Lasdun teaching wall over the next ten years.

Developing the Sky House will mean students and staff can move into the building while the university renovates the 1960s-era Lasdun Wall. From 2022 the Sky House will house the Arts and Humanities as well as some Social Sciences schools.

UEA Vice Chancellor David Richardson said: “Investing in our UEA campus means investing in our people and the spaces they need to work, learn, study and teach both now and in the future.

“The Sky House will be the new gateway to UEA for visitors and provide collaborative and communal working spaces for our staff and students.”

The site of the Sky House will be at the end of the Lasdun Wall, beside the Registry. Another use of the building will be as a new reception point for UEA campus. As well as a centre for teaching the building will include drama studios, rehearsal spaces, a screening room, and café facilities. It will also provide for the postgraduate humanities students.

The Lasdun Wall was finished in 1970, and is grade-II listed for special architectural and historic interest. Yet in a statement the university said the building is “at the end of its design life”. The university statement added: “Very significant investment in the Lasdun Wall is now needed to ensure it is safe, secure and fit for the future needs of UEA staff and students.”

Sky House UEA
Photo: Artist’s impression of the Sky House, UEA

UEA hope to start construction on the Sky House in Spring 2020. To enable this the university plans to remove 300 car parking spaces from the main car park later this year, a move that has angered some students. The university will also change the road layout around the site and remove 85 trees from the site, but will plant two trees elsewhere on campus for every tree removed. The Lodge will also be demolished alongside a number of other changes to the university’s campus.

The university hopes removing the car parking spaces will also encourage people to employ more environmentally sustainable methods of travelling to campus.

A spokesperson for UEA said: “The 300 car parking spaces are not being replaced. However, UEA campus currently has enough parking spaces to ensure capacity for all current car users regardless of this reduction in the Main Car Park.

“This may mean the car parks on campus fill up more quickly though, so car users are advised to allow extra time for their journeys.”

A public consultation for the Sky House proposals will be held at UEA on 6 June in the Council Chamber on campus from 4-7pm.

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Chris Matthews

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October 2021
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