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"Extremely impressive" Vijay Patel Building wins major Leicester award

The home to De Montfort University Leicester’s art and design courses has been named as the best new building in Leicester by the city’s Civic Society while Friars Mill, home to the university's business experts, was named "a wonder of the age".

The Leicester Civic Society described the Vijay Patel Building as “uncompromisingly modern” but “in scale and harmony with its important historic surroundings.”

vijay patel main

And it awarded the construction its 2016 award for New Build complementing the Historic Built Environment of the City of Leicester.

Stuart Bailey, chairman of the Leicester Civic Society said the building was a “remarkably successful project.”

He said: “The panel were extremely impressed by a large building of uncompromising modern design that is nevertheless in scale and harmony with its important historic surroundings.

“We were also impressed by the clear way in which the building works and by the careful thought as to its function that is clearly contributing to its success.”


Work on the Vijay Patel Building completed last year, with students from DMU’s art and design courses moving across in stages.

The building is named after Dr Vijay Patel, Chief Executive Officer of Waymade Healthcare. Dr Patel, a graduate of DMU's Leicester School of Pharmacy, and his wife Mrs Patel have made the single biggest donation by individuals in DMU's history.

The building’s construction is split into three main areas – the Arts Tower development, the Design Wing and the Food Village. Other changes include the development of open parkland along Mill Lane leading to the edge of the River Soar, creating a new gateway connecting the city’s West End to the city centre.


This landscaped area includes creative seating and grassy expanses which open up the campus and give students options to sit and watch the huge, high-definition screen on the side of the building.

Umesh Desai, Director of Estates and Commercial Services at DMU, said: “It’s a real pleasure and honour to accept the award from the Civic Society.

“It was very important to us that we not only create a striking, creative building which could inspire art and design students as a place to learn.

“But that this creation was also sympathetic and respectful of the area’s history and architectural influence.

“It is therefore hugely satisfying that the building has been recognised in this way.”

Friars Mill, in Bath Lane – home to DMU’s Research, Business and Innovation office - was also a winner in the civic society awards. The development, designed to spark collaboration and encourage business growth, was named Best Restoration Project.

The Grade II listed building, which was transformed from a scorched shell into the £7.1million office space, was described by society chairman Stuart Bailey as ‘a wonder of our age’.

He said: "Remarkable restoration from ruin we consider to be a wonder of the age.
"This is undoubtedly an emblem of our city's renewed pride. A tour taken inside the great roof timbers to see the new cupola and the famous golden ibex, as a skylight, was breath-taking.”

DMU events at Friars Mill include the newly-launched "Textiles Tuesdays", a business breakfast club, industry innovation forums, university expertise meetings and presentations highlighting initiatives which businesses can join as part of #DMUlocal, the university’s outreach programme.

Posted on Monday 20th February 2017

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