University of Winchester West Downs Centre wins national Civic Trust Award

8 Mar 2022

The University of Winchester's flagship learning and teaching building the West Downs Centre has been revealed as a UK National Award winner at the Civic Trust Awards 2022.

The judges commented the building was: "An ambitious scheme that has been delivered to a very high standard. It enhances not just the University campus and teaching facilities but also the wider neighbourhood."

Gavin Hunter, Chief Operating Officer, University of Winchester, said: "It's fantastic to receive this national award from the Civic Trust. The West Downs Centre has boosted the University's teaching facilities, moving us closer to realising our vision of becoming a world-class university in Winchester.

"We also want this inspiring building to make a positive contribution to the lives of our local community. The project has created an impressive addition to Winchester's civic buildings at the main gateway into the city centre and many of the building's facilities are open to the local community."

The contemporary design includes a drum-shaped 250-seat auditorium, public art gallery, café, food hall, packaging-free shop, library, social learning areas and teaching spaces.

Sustainable features, including a combined heat and power plant, heat recovery systems, rainwater harvesting, a green roof and solar photovoltaic panels, are an integral part of the design. The University has registered the West Downs Centre for WELL certification, an international building standard for measuring how a building impacts on its users' health and wellbeing.

The café, art gallery and packaging-free shop all welcome members of the local community. Conference and meeting facilities are also available. More information at: 

The £50m state-of-the-art building was designed by award-winning architectural practice Design Engine Architects.

"When we started developing the designs for the West Downs Centre it was incredibly important to both ourselves and the University that the new facility would be more than just another university building, but would also fulfil a broader civic responsibility and reach out to the local community to reinforce the values of higher education in the city," said Richard Jobson, Founding Director, Design Engine Architects.

"It is therefore incredibly gratifying that the Civic Trust has recognised the building with a national Award."

The Civic Trust Awards recognise outstanding architecture, planning and design in the built environment.

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