Date of release: Thursday, December 6, 2007

A1477---Drill-Hall-LibUniversities at Medway’s multi-million-pound campus at Chatham Maritime has received a top prize in the Kent Design Awards.

Two of the campus’s showpiece buildings – the Drill Hall Library and the Pilkington Building – were chosen by award judges as joint winners in the ‘Building Renovation’ category.

More than 30 Kent-based architects and design firms competed for the awards, with the winners being announced at a ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral International Study Centre on Thursday, 29 November.

Run by Kent County Council, the awards recognise excellence in design and construction in seven categories. In addition to renovation, these include house building; town and village renaissance; public buildings; commercial, industrial and retail; landscape; and sustainable design projects.

The Drill Hall Library and the Pilkington Building have both received major renovations at the Medway campus in recent years. The campus is shared between Greenwich, Kent and Canterbury Christ Church universities, as well as Mid-Kent College, who between them make up the pioneering Universities at Medway partnership. Both buildings are jointly owned and run by Kent and Greenwich.

The £8 million Drill Hall Library provides thousands of students at Medway with state-of-the-art computing and study facilities. Formerly part of the Royal Navy barracks serving HMS Pembroke, the library is thought to be the longest library in Europe and has more than 130,000 items, including books and journals.

The Pilkington Building opened to staff and students in September 2006 after being completely refurbished at a cost of approximately £6 million, includes a 175-seat lecture theatre, an exhibition room, teaching facilities, The Venue café and a social meeting area.

The University of Kent’s £7.5 million flagship Medway Building – which houses many of its teaching facilities, including music studios and sports therapy fitness suites – also received a nomination in the ‘Public Building’ category.

Professor Clare Mackie, representing Universities at Medway, said the winning buildings were not only remarkable architectural achievements, but they were also highly popular with students. ‘The overwhelming response from students is that both the Drill Hall Library and Pilkington are super places to be,’ she said. ‘They are attractive, popular and stimulating environments, with plenty of space to work in and top-notch facilities.’

‘These latest awards endorse our view that the unique Universities at Medway partnership offers excellent opportunities for students at a first-class campus.’

The Medway campus has received several prestigious awards in recent times. In February 2007, it won a commendation at the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards. In September, it received a highly commended rating by judges at the inaugural Regeneration and Renewal Awards as Heritage-led Project of the Year.

In 2006, both the Drill Hall Library and the University of Kent’s Medway Building were shortlisted for a RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Award. Both buildings also scooped first prizes at the Medway Design Awards.

The bid to the Kent Design Awards was made by RMJM Architects.

Chairman of the judging panel, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration Roger Gough, said: ‘I am pleased that we are able to recognise exceptional design with these awards. The county council wants developers and architects to strive for the best quality design in new buildings.

‘The important thing is that other designers look at what can be achieved and follow their example.’

For more information and images please contact:
Nick Davison
Press Officer
University of Greenwich
020 8331 8092
n.a.p.davison@gre.ac.uk

Images available.
Captions: Image 1: Drill Hall Library, Universities at Medway campus.
Image 2: Pilkington Building, Universities at Medway campus.