Language Centre - Parkinson Building

The University of Leeds

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Project Value:

£3 million




Key Points

Flexible social/working environments

Retention of original features

Grade II listed

A/A+ Green Guide Ratings

Sector-leading Teaching and Learning Facilities

Key to the success of the Parkinson Building refurbishment were the innovations utilised to foster an extra-ordinarily good working relationship between the design team, delivery team, and client.

This project’s brief was to significantly redevelop the building’s second and third floors (the Language Centre), providing new state-of-the-art sector-leading teaching and learning facilities for its staff and students to create a modern, attractive, flexible learning/social/working environment.
The brief required both refurbishment of spaces, provision of new spaces and there was a desire for improvements to the building fabric and M&E such as improved lighting and ventilation to provide a more comfortable and energy-efficient environment.

Retaining and Enhancing Original Features

The Design Team and client were committed to having a positive impact on the historic nature of the building, utilising our extensive conservation experience to provide efficient and stimulating environments for contemporary uses. Following consultation with Planning and Conservation Officers, our design included retaining and enhancing original features where possible, such as retaining historic doors, door numbers, downstands, wall nibs and ensuring new secondary glazing was sensitive to the original external glazing.

The team utilisied technology that allowed replacement mouldings/cornicing to be scanned on-site and then replicated in the joiner’s CNC machine to create exactly matched replacements. This has led to a space that has been positively received by both students and staff.


Sustainability was also a key driver for the Parkinson Building refurbishment. All materials and build-ups required A or A+ Green Guide ratings, materials were required to be responsibly sourced subject to availability and whilst BREEAM accreditation was not required on this project, it was expected that some elements of the criteria will be used to provide a framework for compliance with the university’s sustainability requirements