Home » Journal » Leicester Architecture » An iconic building to represent Leicester

An iconic building to represent Leicester

Published September 2017 in NICHE Magazine.
Leicester professionals David Hickman and Adam Smith of Hickman & Smith Architects reveal the building they believe best represents their home city.

It’s been an eventful month and we’re pleased to welcome two new employees to our team. Our first architectural visit with the new team will be this Friday 1st September when we’ll take a trip to Nottingham Contemporary to take a look at this iconic work by Caruso St John. We’ll hopefully be tweeting some interesting photos and video snippets during our visit.

Earlier in the summer I had the pleasure of talking on BBC Radio Leicester on the Saturday morning show with Monica Winfield, along with president of the LSRA (Leicestershire & Rutland Society of Architects), Sylvester Cheung. It got me thinking about our city and the buildings that shape it. Which buildings shape Leicester’s identity? How do the buildings that surround us shape our lives?

As a modern architecture enthusiast, I must say that the building which I believe best represents Leicester is the iconic Engineering Building on the University of Leicester Campus. Our team visited this site on recent trip.

An iconic building to represent Leicester

As I mention in the interview, for me this building is an architectural triumph. The prestigious RIBA award for excellence in architecture is named after one of the projects architects, James Stirling. The Leicester Engineering building is one of Stirling’s early projects and was completed in collaboration with James Gowan, built between 1959-63. It is uncompromising, and for me, the genius is in the detail; the choice of red-brick to represent the rows or terraced houses that characterise Leicester, the way the building is completely exposed to show the inner workings, as is the nature of the discipline it houses (engineering). Are you a fan? Leave us a comment to let us know your thoughts.
Click here to follow the link to read more about this stunning building from the University of Leicester website.

An iconic building to represent Leicester - Image 2

The Engineering Building, University of Leicester

Architects: James Gowan and James Stirling

Engineer: Franck Newby

We’re really grateful to have had the opportunity to share our views on architecture on the radio, and hopefully to bring the beautiful buildings that we have to offer in Leicester to the attention of the community. If you have a favourite building in Leicester, or if you are fortunate enough to own one then please share and leave a comment below as we’d love to hear your thoughts.

I’m particularly interested in how people use these spaces. In the interview, we talk about the recently opened bar and restaurant in Wygston’s house, the oldest building in Leicester. It’s just great to see people enjoying a historic and important building in such a relaxed and natural way. The Jubilee Square project has revitalised the area as a gateway to the city, and shows the important role which the built environment plays.

I’d also like to let you know about a free event in Leicester for architecture enthusiasts organised by the LRSA. On Saturday 9th September you can take part in a free guided walk of Leicester’s Cultural Quarter led by architect Nils Feldmann.

Next month I look forward to sharing our thoughts with you on our upcoming visit to Nottingham Contemporary. I’m also hoping to talk about historical Leicester, including the beautiful redevelopment of Cathedral Square and the Richard III visitor centre, as well as the Castle Gardens and Trinity Walk area.