Practice beats university’s original architect to the job

Rick Mather Architects has won the RIBA competition to rejuvenate Lancaster University’s campus.

The practice beat a shortlist featuring Gustafson Porter, Land Use Consultants (with Design Engine Architects), Shepheard Epstein Hunter and White Arkitekter.

The project involves The Spine, a covered pedestrian walkway that runs the length of the campus, and forms part of the overall John McAslan & Partners masterplan.

The university’s original architect and masterplanner, Shepheard Epstein, intended The Spine to resemble a high street while offering some protection from the weather. It was designed to follow the natural gradient of the land and portions were left open to let in natural light, avoiding the need for under-canopy lighting in part.

Mark Swindlehurst, Lancaster University’s director of facilities, said: “Rick Mather Architects’ submission demonstrated a convincing intellectual process, with a good logic to the proposed phasing to test design strategies and help minimise disruption to campus life. We very much look forward to working with the RMA team to develop the ideas presented.”

The two-stage contest was organised by RIBA Competitions.