Norwich-based Hudson Architects win top architecture award for NUA city landmark

Duke Street Riverside – Norwich University of the Arts’ landmark building on the banks of the Wensum in central Norwich – has won a top architectural award. The striking building, designed by Norwich-based Hudson Architects – was named Best Higher Education Building (up to £20 million) at the prestigious Architects’ Journal Awards, beating stiff competition from developments at the universities of Oxford, Cambridge and St Andrews.

Duke Street Riverside is a 4,400 sq.m mixed-use development for Norwich University of the Arts (NUA), containing a series of flexible teaching spaces alongside a 300-seat studio theatre production space designed for university and public use, and 100 ensuite student rooms. This building is a new landmark for Norwich and a flagship building for NUA, and has opened up a previously inaccessible stretch of the River Wensum to create a new public space for everyone to enjoy.

Duke Street Riverside has replaced a drab and disused 1970s student housing block and car park, and Hudson Architects’ design pays homage to the Barnard Bishop and Barnard ironworks that previously stood on the site in the 19th century. Stylish metal cladding panels feature distinctive etched patterns inspired by the firm’s celebrated designer Thomas Jeckyll, while the tall red brick facades are reminiscent of historic riverside warehouses. Inside, a bright steel mesh has been used to create an impressive and unusual foyer and flexible space for public events and informal teaching and gatherings.

The Architects Journal Awards judges were impressed by how Hudson Architects and NUA have brought student accommodation and learning spaces together in a way that is “restrained, contained and respectful: a good, calm piece of civic architecture.” The delivery of a such ambitious building was also praised by one judge who summarised Hudson Architects’ achievement as “tight budget – bloody good job.”

Duke Street Riverside is the first completed new-build project for Norwich University of the Arts. The University’s city centre campus includes several historic buildings that have been refurbished by Hudson Architects, including Boardman House on Redwell Street which houses the NUA school of architecture, and Cavendish House, which stands opposite Hudson Architects’ offices on St Andrew’s Street and contains exhibition space as well as offices for NUA staff.

Anthony Hudson, director at Hudson Architects, said:

“We are delighted that Duke Street Riverside has been recognised with such an important architecture award. The award is great boost for our practice, and a testament to NUA’s commitment to creating great buildings for students, staff and the wider community in Norwich.”

Read more about the thinking behind Duke Street Riverside’s multifaceted design.

Photo Credit: Joakim Boren

Author / Hudson Architects

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