University of Buckingham's Vinson Building wins in two categories at design awards

The University of Buckingham's Vinson Building
The University of Buckingham's Vinson Building

The University of Buckingham's Vinson Building won two categories at Aylesbury Vale District Council's design awards which were held last night (Thursday).

The building, which opened in November 2018, was successful in the ‘Outstanding Design’ and ‘Mixed Use Scheme’ categories.

The facility houses the university’s largest lecture theatre and has become a hub for conferences and community events.

It is also the home of the community bookshop, a modern coffee bar, social learning, study spaces for students and an academic library.

The shortlisted schemes were all visited by a panel of expert judges made up of architects, designers and district council members.

The selection panel judged each entry on its local distinctiveness, quality of design and construction, fitness for purpose, sustainability, accessibility, attractiveness and innovation.

Judges said that the building's outstanding finish and exquisite detailing, clever use of roof space, impressive interior details and the overall craftsmanship were the reasons behind the centre winning the two awards.

The Vinson Building is open to all students but is particularly used by those on Buckingham’s broad-based economics course which uniquely offers allied subjects including history, politics and philosophy as part of the programme, and business students, including those on the Business Enterprise course (BBE).

As well as being a focal point for the university and community, the centre solidifies links between the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and the University of Buckingham, with the IEA using the building on Hunter Street, Buckingham, for conducting research.

Built by Beard Construction and designed by Panter Hudspith Architects, construction was made possible thanks to generous donations from Lord Vinson, former University of Buckingham student Susanne Klatten, and the Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Discussing the project Lord Vinson said: “Overwhelmingly the facts pointed to Buckingham as the place to choose if you want to advance entrepreneurialism – manifested, not least, by being the first university to offer two-year courses and its uniquely sound thinking on liberal economics.

"Both Buckingham and I have been closely associated with the IEA, and I and my trustees wanted to cement the relationship.

"As an entrepreneur, I have been exceptionally fortunate in life.

"I also wanted to foster the qualities that create new businesses, because they are the foundation of the prosperity of any nation.”

The University of Buckingham already has strong links with the IEA as Arthur Seldon, the father of current University of Buckingham vice-chancellor Sir Anthony Seldon, was a joint founder of the IEA, and instrumental in the creation of the university.

Sir Anthony said: “Our country’s economy, post-Brexit, needs entrepreneurship like never before.

"Our centre is geared precisely to develop the successful entrepreneurs of the future.

"We will be turning out graduates who are educated in a wide range of disciplines and who have a ‘can do’ attitude.”

The other winners at the design awards were:

> Primrose Cottage, Kingswood (Best Single Dwelling House).

> Catte Street Green, Wingrave (Best Residential Development)

> Canada Wood, Winslow (People's Choice Award)

> The Exchange, Aylesbury (Contribution to the Public Realm of Aylesbury).