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Image of the front of the Barbara Hepworth Building, School of Art and Design for University of Hudderfield

Barbara Hepworth Building (School of Art & Design)

Named after local Wakefield-born sculptor, Barbara Hepworth, the new building has allowed the University of Huddersfield’s Art, Design and Architecture Schools to be housed in one creative and technologically advanced hub.

Key Stats

Second project for the University of Huddersfield, the first being the Oastler Building.

Built using cutting-edge, digital construction technology.

BREEAM Excellent with an EPC rating of A.

Multi-award winning, including: Project of the Year 2019 at the Constructing Excellence National Awards; winner, Northern Design Awards; Project of the Year, Education Estates Awards.

At a Glance


University of Huddersfield


£30 million






Higher Education

Our approach

The building was designed by local architects AHR and the Morgan Sindall Construction team in Yorkshire & the North East was proud to work collaboratively to deliver the range of bespoke facilities the University of Huddersfield wanted for their students.

The bespoke facilities include The Phidas Lab, a digital exhibition space, the Materials Library, print and dye areas, postgraduate research space, and studios and workshops for textiles, photography, graphic design, product design and fashion, with CAD computer laboratories.

Using the latest digital construction technology

With the latest technology housed in the building it was only fitting the team approached its construction utilising the latest technology available. This included cutting edge BIM and mixed-reality technology to enable the team to better examine the project as it developed.

Digital construction techniques included the use of 3D design coordination processes, where architecture, structural and MEP 3D models were periodically combined to check for clashes and issues that could affect construction programme and costs. The team also partnered with Microsoft Hololens on site, using the technology to inspect and complete mixed reality walkthroughs of the site to undertake surveys and risk assessments.

Designing with the surroundings in mind

The building's surroundings and history also played a part in its design, the innovative and iconic cantilever structure that addresses the sites five metre level change was designed so that the building's users could bask in the light and airy canal-side location.

The façade boasts a unique laser-cut veil, where each panel was individually designed with a contemporary and abstract twist on the history of the neighbouring textile mills. The panels minimise glare and overheating, while the building’s transparency gives passers-by an intriguing glimpse of the creative processes and advanced technologies at work within.

Interior of the view from inside the atrium of the Barbara Hepworth Building for the University of Huddersfield
Interior of the Barbara Hepworth Building, which was built by Morgan Sindall Construction for the University of Huddersfield. Photo courtesy of AHR Architects.

Social impact

The project created £9.5 million of social value for the Huddersfield area and wider Yorkshire & North East community through local procurement and the offer of skills training and jobs. The team worked with the University of Huddersfield to provide student engagement opportunities to their built environment and technology groups. They undertook activities in the community to promote careers in construction. This was not only limited to school engagement, but activities and initiatives also targeted the unemployed, ex-offenders and those who were leaving military services and taking up a career in construction.

The sustainable and environmental impact of the building remained a key driver for the project, as it was not only an important factor for the University, but it is also an area prospective students look for when choosing a university, ensuring that their chosen university is contributing positively to their impact on the environment. With this in mind, the building was designed to achieve BREEAM Excellent with an EPC rating of A.

Find out more about the team who delivered this project

Yorkshire, North East & Cumbria
This project has been incredibly rewarding for our team to work on. We’ve developed a strong relationship with the University over recent years, and it’s been a privilege to welcome students on to the site to learn more about the complex construction process involved in creating incredible buildings like this.

Through the use of cutting-edge technology we’ve been able to deliver an ambitious vision for the University and create a building befitting of Barbara Hepworth’s legacy, and one that is the perfect environment for the School’s students to nurture their crafts.

Paul Limb, Project Director, Morgan Sindall Construction
A couple walking past the Barbara Hepworth Building at the University of Hudderfield in the evening
Morgan Sindall Construction built the Barbara Hepworth Building for the University of Huddersfield. Photo courtesy of AHR Architects.


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