Huddersfield University – Oastler Building

The £28m Oastler Building is Huddersfield’s latest landmark structure. The new home for Huddersfield University’s Law School and the School of Music, Humanities and Media was opened by HRH The Duke of York on 24th April 2017. The building is a tribute to Richard Oastler, the 19th century campaigner who fought to curb child labour and improve conditions for all workers in the new factories of the Industrial Revolution.

Johnsons Wellfield supplied around 160 tonnes of Crosland Hill Yorkstone to the iconic building designed by AHR Architects, which has a curved frontage, facing onto Huddersfield’s Shorehead Roundabout and main ring road, with a 3.5m cantilever across 6 storeys.

Main Contractor Morgan Sindall sourced local materials for the project, which included Yorkstone Ashlar Cladding from Johnsons Wellfield, steel from Elland Steel Structures and glazing from HW Architectural and Dual Seal Glass, in order to meet the University’s aspiration for an iconic new teaching facility built using local materials and skills to showcase the town’s manufacturing capabilities.

Mark Heginbotham, project director from Morgan Sindall, said: “Where we can, we source materials, suppliers and staff from the local area and it is fantastic that we are able to use local stone in the creation of this landmark building. It is, of course, important that we source materials from a sustainably and professionally managed operation. While Johnsons Wellfield is certainly that, they also provide some of the best quality Yorkstone in the world meaning their appointment was an easy decision to make.”

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tim Thornton from the University of Huddersfield said: “The University is proud of the role it plays in supporting the region’s economy. To be able to work with local suppliers on projects is important to us, and we endeavour to do this wherever this offers best value.”

The partnership with Johnsons Wellfield and other local companies marks the continuing commitment by the University to support local businesses, as explained by Mr Colin Blair, the University’s Director of Estates.

“We have worked with Johnsons Wellfield on a number of projects in recent years, including the development of the university’s new Business School and the Creative Arts building. The Oastler building is situated at a strategic point on the town’s ring road and will be a landmark structure on the campus that will certainly impress those passing”.

An Impressive Construction

• The 7500 square metre, six-storey building includes four 300-seat lecture theatres, tutorial spaces, offices, language labs and a Law Court.

• A steel frame forms the skeleton of the building, carrying the building’s load and creating some of the internal dimensions of the various rooms.

• The exterior of the structure is clad in hundreds of panes of toughened curtain walling glazing.

• 1700 square metres of Crosland Hill Yorkstone Rainscreen Cladding is affixed via a lightweight cladding system, designed and installed by specialist cladding contractor Eirgramco, to various elevations of the build.

• 200 square metres of Crosland Hill Paving adorns the roof top.

• The overall appearance is further enhanced with the addition of various fire exit doors which have been dressed in Yorkstone Cladding inscribed accordingly by Johnsons Wellfield.

• The curvaceous three-dimensional form of the building is defined by 42 architectural fins rising over the upper storeys, defining the architectural language of the new academic facilities and allowing glimpses into the building.

Yorkstone is a type of sandstone which is favoured as a building material due to its durability and beauty.

Mark Heginbotham, project director from Morgan Sindall, said: “Yorkstone is a fantastic material to work with. It adds a distinctive quality to the building which is one of grandeur, solidity and tradition. But here, it is not being used to create a traditional style building. The Oastler building is bold and modern and with its blend of traditional and modern materials, it will make a real statement in the town.”

The Oastler Building has been designed to complement existing buildings within the university including both Student Central and the adjacent Creative Arts Building. The building will provide new teaching space including large tiered lecture theatres.

The impressive eye-catching building provides a new gateway to both the university and the town centre.

Images courtesy of Morgan Sindall