University of Sheffield unveils new Engineering Heartspace linking two of its most historic buildings

31st January 2020

The University of Sheffield has this week (29 January 2020) unveiled a new state-of-the-art learning and social space after refurbishing two of its most historic buildings.

The Engineering Heartspace, which is housed under a new, impressive curved glass roof, links together the Grade II listed Sir Frederick Mappin Building and the 1885 Central Wing.

With state-of-the-art laboratories, offices and social spaces, the buildings are open to all staff and students at the University, but will be home to its world-renowned Faculty of Engineering.

The new facilities include a dedicated employability hub, designed to help businesses from the Sheffield City Region, across the UK and around the world to meet face-to-face with engineering students to aid collaborations. The facilities will also make industrial placements, internships, skills sessions and graduate opportunities more accessible than ever for students.

Professor Mike Hounslow, Vice-President and Head of the University’s Faculty of Engineering, said: “We are absolutely delighted to open the Engineering Heartspace and look forward to welcoming staff, students and partners from industry into our new facilities. Collaboration is a vital part of engineering and we hope that the new facilities which we have invested in will provide another platform for our academics, students and industrial partners to work together to generate real world impact.

“Sheffield is renowned across the globe for its expertise in engineering. Our academics are conducting research at the very cutting-edge of their fields, our students are some of the brightest emerging talent in the industry and we work together with businesses ranging from local SMEs to some of the world’s biggest companies to help solve some of their most pressing challenges. The Engineering Heartspace can further enhance this work and provide a new place alongside our existing facilities to aid and inspire collaborations.”

The Grade II listed Sir Frederick Mappin Building and the 1885 Central Wing are two of the University’s oldest buildings.

First erected in 1904, the Mappin Building is named after Sir Frederick Mappin, a factory owner and liberal politician from Sheffield who supported the formation of the University in 1905. Sir Frederick was then named its first Pro-Chancellor.

The 1885 Central Wing was a former Technical School and is the earliest purpose-built building in the University’s estate.

Professor Hounslow added: “The Sir Frederick Mappin Building and the 1885 Central Wing are treasured parts of the University. Not only were they crucial parts of the institution’s formation, they were also the birthplace of engineering at the University. We’re proud to be able to refurbish them so they can continue to be at the heart of Sheffield engineering and play a part in the lives and careers of our staff and students.”

Keith Lilley, Director of Estates and Facilities Management at the University of Sheffield, said: “This has been an incredibly ambitious and demanding project, but it was absolutely worth it. Two of our oldest buildings have been fully refurbished, whilst still retaining their historical significance. The central atrium provides modern standards of building performance, significantly improving the energy and carbon performance of these Victorian buildings by enclosing the inner facades of both buildings. We believe these changes allow users of the spaces to enjoy the buildings and their historic character in a protected and modern setting. We are delighted with the scheme which helps underpin the facilities of one of the world’s best engineering faculties.”

The Engineering Heartspace will be home to staff from the University’s departments of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Interdisciplinary Programmes.

The University of Sheffield is one of the biggest and best providers of engineering research and education in the UK with over 6,700 students and an annual research income of over £120 million.

Last year, the University was named number one in the UK for engineering research income and investment, according to statistics released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

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