£45m sports research building clears planning hurdle

Sheppard Robson-designed proposals for a £45m sports research facility at Leeds Beckett University have won planning permission from the city council.

The Carnegie Teaching and Research Building will be built at the university’s Headingley Campus and feature a 60m covered running track on its roof and an environmental chamber that can mimic different altitudes and environments.

Bringing together the school of sport’s five current buildings in one location, Sheppard Robson’s proposals feature two blocks running perpendicular to the indoor running track, joined by a central atrium with double-height glazing that offers long-ranging views over outdoor athletics activities.

Sheppard Robson said the new centre would be a base for academics specialising in fields ranging from anti-doping policy and gender equality in sport to obesity prevention and sports performance.

The practice said its design reflected existing historic buildings through vertical window panels and its contemporary material palette. The indoor running track, which is the building’s main feature, is encased in red anodised panels patterned with a design based on a section of muscle.

Inside Sheppard Robson's Carnegie Teaching and Research Building, earmarked for Leeds Beckett University's Headingley Campus

Inside Sheppard Robson’s Carnegie Teaching and Research Building

Sheppard Robson partner Alex Solk said working with the university had been a “fantastic journey” to match its reputation for cutting-edge sports research with a building capable of supporting the school of sport’s plans for future growth and innovation.

“The challenges of the site and context have driven us to design a striking built form that expresses the use within,” he said.

The Carnegie School of Sport counts double Olympic gold-medal-winning triathlete Alistair Brownlee, double Paralympic gold-winning athlete Kadeena Cox, former GB hockey player Sam Quek and former England rugby union head coach Stuart Lancaster among its alumni.

Construction work for the new building is due to begin in July with completion expected in November 2019.