The decision to redevelop the Lasdun wall at UEA

Posted:
9:00 AM Sep 23 2022



Plans to redevelop one of Norfolk’s most important Brutalist architectural landmarks will be outlined next week but concerns have been raised that it could harm the building’s heritage.

The University of East Anglia would like to redevelop the second grade ‘Lasdun Wall’ teaching block.

This will include stripping it of its original concrete structure and rebuilding it by adding two of the five storeys of 2,900 square metres.

Before City Hall makes a decision on plans next Thursday, two heritage groups have raised concerns that the redevelopment could damage the historic structure.




Dennis Lasdon, Education Building Designer at the University of East Anglia
– Credit: UEA

But the university says the work is urgently needed.

The plans are part of a broader redevelopment of the campus, with safety improvements already approved for the distinctive ziggurat building.

“We do not feel that the proposed extensions will be ‘carefully calibrated and sympathetically mobilized,'” as described in the application, but we consider them to be over-sized, said the Twentieth Century Society, a charity working to preserve architectural heritage. big.

In addition, the proposals will negatively affect the settings of the adjacent second-tier ziggurat blocks.

“Therefore, we recommend that planning permission and listed building approval be denied.”

The group argued that the decisions were “justified on economic grounds” which it said should not outweigh the arguments for conservation.

Historic England, a heritage watchdog, echoed their concerns, saying: “The proposed design constitutes the most detrimental route to providing new accommodation in terms of the loss of historical texture and visual impact on the listed building.”

But the UEA dismissed their concerns, saying the Lasdun wall is an important part of UEA’s history but needs urgent repair and renovation. This will enable the university to “create better spaces for teaching, learning and research”.

A spokesperson said: “The building is also a major contributor to our carbon emissions, and our ambition is to be a zero-campus campus by 2045.

“Since December 2020 we have been working with a very wide range of stakeholders, including our heritage partners, for the first part of the renovation of the Grade II listed building.

“These plans will not affect the listed situation and empathize with and respect the heritage of the building.”

At a meeting earlier this year, a team from the UEA warned that the Lasdun wall could become unusable by 2025 if work is not completed.

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