Our Project Story

Lancaster Institute for Contemporary Arts.

Lancaster University | Sheppard Robson

Higher Education
Justin Spencer, Partner at Hoare Lea

Lead Partner:
Justin Spencer

A lesson in BREEAM Outstanding.

The innovative, timber-framed LICA building is home to Lancaster University’s Art, Design, Film, Music and Theatre Studies departments. It also houses a trio of public arts facilities (Peter Scott Gallery, Nuffield Theatre, the International Concert Series) under the name LIVE@LICA.Lancaster Institute for Contemporary Art

No opportunity missed.

To maintain its position at the forefront of sustainable higher education construction, Lancaster University was committed to targeting BREEAM Outstanding for this build… making it the first higher education building to do so. The university had always targeted BREEAM Excellent from the inception of BREEAM, so aiming for the highest possible rating once it was introduced was almost a given. This was ambitious on many levels, not least because it would also be the second time Outstanding was achieved in any type of building.

Understanding the design.

Our sustainability experts set about conducting a diligent and extensive review of all aspects of the project to identify every possible BREEAM credit opportunity. One of the notable aspects of this project was a change to the structure at a relatively late stage during the design process. A pre-fabricated and cross-laminated timber structure was proposed, as it would provide high levels of air tightness and enable a quicker and safer construction programme.

In light of the BREEAM Outstanding target, we highlighted the benefits of this structure from both a sustainability perspective and in terms of achieving BREEAM credits. We also opened up discussions with the BRE to understand the responsible timber criteria and investigate the feasibility of the Safety credit. The result is a truly pioneering building.

Key Figures
1st Ever BREEAM Outstanding for a higher education building.