The Diamond, The University of Sheffield

An £81 million new Undergraduate Engineering Facility for The University of Sheffield, UK.

The Diamond is the largest capital investment in teaching and learning ever undertaken by the University. The 19,500m2 building houses specialist engineering laboratories, lecture theatres, flexible teaching spaces, workshops, a learning resource centre and formal and informal study environments for up to 5,000 students. The ethos of the building is to support work across the full spectrum of engineering, from fundamental science to professional practice. The design provides a public route at ground floor level. A central atrium at first floor enables people to view the ‘showcase’ engineering activities being undertaken and promotes collaboration and cross-disciplinary working in an environment fit for 21st century research and practice.

The Diamond is named after its distinctive anodised aluminium and glass facade, which draws inspiration from the detailing of the surrounding historic buildings and in particular the stone tracery that frames the windows of the adjacent church. It also references ‘cellular automaton’, a discrete model studied in the field of engineering and used by the University to describe how the microstructure of steel changes during processing.

RIBA stages A-E were completed by the core members of Twelve Architects whilst employed by a previous practice. Twelve Architects completed the design and delivery of the construction with Balfour Beatty.

“I am very proud of The Diamond building development. Twelve Architects has worked tirelessly to bring forward what I believe is both a fantastic addition to the University estate and Higher Education as a whole. Twelve has interpreted our vision and taken the final scheme so much further than we had hoped with a truly world class facility to compliment the excellence of the University’s academic endeavour. The Diamond is the single largest academic project the University has undertaken, and is a truly unique and inspiring facility.”

Keith Lilley, Director of Estates and Facilities Management, The University of Sheffield

“It has been a real pleasure to work with the team at Twelve Architects and it has been a very productive relationship. They have listened to and understood our needs and vision, and together we have worked closely to challenge, test and develop the brief and design. The result of this very engaging process is ‘The Diamond’, a world class facility for the Faculty of Engineering and the whole of the University of Sheffield.”

Professor Mike Hounslow, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Engineering, The University of Sheffield