Grade II*-listed student accomodation blocks the second by architect Denys Lasdun to be hit by RAAC crisis

Lasdun Ziggurats

The student accommodation blocks were completed in 1967

The University of East Anglia (UEA) has closed Denys Lasdun’s grade II*-listed student accommodation due to warnings over unsafe lightweight concrete.

The Norfolk and Suffolk Terrace, known as the Ziggurats, will be closed until further notice and students will be moved to to alternative sites, the university said.

In an email to students reported by the BBC, the UEA’s chief resource officer and university secretary Ian Callagahn said: “We realise that this will be a stressful time for students preparing to join or return to UEA.

“It is too early to say at the moment how long these buildings will need to be vacated.”

The Ziggurats were completed in 1967 and provide accommodation for around 600 students.

It is the second major Lasdun-designed building hit by the crisis over reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC), which has seen the closure of hundreds of buildings across the UK in the past week following new guidance from the government.

The material was found in backstage areas of the grade II*-listed National Theatre, designed by Lasdun and built in 1976, last week.

The theatre said it had appointed engineers to carry out further structural surveys of the building, although it said early investigations suggest the material is safe.

RAAC was used mostly between the 1950s and the 1990s in buildings with flat roofs, but has proved to be structurally unreliable.

The guidance issued by the Department for Education advising schools to close buildings containing the material followed “new evidence” which emerged over the summer indicating that RAAC which had previously been considered safe was at risk of collapse.

Other government departments are also surveying their estates, including the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Justice, which urgently expanded investigations of the court system last month after discovering RAAC in a building completed in the 1990s.


Source: John Lord/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

The buildings provide rooms for around 600 students