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Project Details - University of Leeds (Marjorie & Arnold Ziff Building)


Project Spotlight - Marjorie & Arnold Ziff Building


Farrell & Clark, Leeds

Design Requirements

Shackerley’s ceramic granite ventilated facades have been used to create the outer envelope of the new £16 million Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Building at the University of Leeds, enabling architects at Farrell and Clark to overcome a significant aesthetic conundrum.

The brief was to deliver a landmark building that would form the nerve centre for the University’s Student Services Departments and provide a new home for senior management. The new edifice was to be striking in its setting but at the same time, sympathy was to be maintained with neighbouring campus architecture, including classic 1930s Portland Stone library buildings and more recent structures built from the 1960s onwards.

The resulting six storey concrete framed building is sleek and elegant with a dramatic sweeping spine wall which creates a clear style contrast with adjacent buildings. However, Farrell and Clark have ensured that their development blends harmoniously with surrounding architectural materials in terms of colour and scale by cladding the building with Shackerley’s large format ceramic granite panels in a natural off-white tone, using a Sureclad ventilated facade system.

Nick Cooper, Project Associate said: “We had originally been open to using other types of cladding but Shackerley’s Sureclad ventilated facade system gave us a few advantages over traditional construction methods including ease and speed of installation. It also gave us the flexibility to combine different facade panel sizes to create subtle feature banding on each elevation. As a project team we discovered the benefits of working with a distributor that has a good in-house prefabrication service too. As with any project of this size, site measurements were required and our contractors needed Shackerley to cut a large number of ceramic granite panels to bespoke sizes during the installation of the facades. As all the cutting and other panel prefabrication services are carried out in Shackerley’s own factories in Lancashire, there were no unnecessary delays.”

The construction project as a whole was made possible as a result of a substantial charitable donation made to the University of Leeds in memory of local philanthropist Arnold Ziff. Funding came from the Ziff family’s charitable foundation and its associated companies in recognition of Marjorie and her late husband Arnold's commitment to the University.

Materials Used

Shackerley supplied over 1100 square metres of prefabricated ‘Liguria’ ceramic granite panels in a ‘prel’ finish. 1200x600mm, 1200x300mm and bespoke panel sizes were used in conjunction with a Sureclad Access System. Nick Cooper, Project Associate said: “Ceramic granite was selected balancing considerations of cost, availability and colour and finish. The facades reflect the natural appearance and light colouration of Portland stone and at the same time blend tonally with the more modern concrete architecture. Despite their relative light weight, the large format panels also have a very substantial appearance which echoes the solidity of the classic 1930’s buildings, albeit in a different and contemporary way.”