'Dustbin' uni building gets top accolade

PRINCE Charles likened it to a “dustbin” but last night a modern building at Essex University scooped a highly respected award. The £6million Ivor Crew Lecture Hall was rubbished by the future king of England when he spoke to soldiers and their families who gathered there last month.

James Hore

PRINCE Charles likened it to a “dustbin” but last night a modern building at Essex University scooped a highly respected award.

The £6million Ivor Crew Lecture Hall was rubbished by the future king of England when he spoke to soldiers and their families who gathered there last month.

He told the audience: “I understand around 1,700 of you are crammed in what looks like a dustbin from the outside.”

The joke triggered sniggers and applause from many troops and families listening to the Prince in the round, stainless steel construction which is set in the side of a hill at the Wivenhoe-based campus.

But the university has had the last laugh when the lecture hall was recognised at the Civic Trust Awards in Newcastle.

Most Read

It was one of 30 winners picked from 400 entries from projects judged to make an “outstanding contribution to the quality and appearance of the environment”.

The Civic Trust Awards judges said: “The highly polished stainless steel cladding reflects existing mature trees and passing people, giving a lively, people-centred feel to the area.

“The two entrances at different levels make use of the sloping landscape and the bridge links the centre of the campus to the new lecture hall.”

Ironically Prince Charles is the patron of the trust which also judged that the lecture theatre spaces were well designed.

They concluded: “This level of flexibility makes the building so much more than a lecture hall, providing the university with space for functions and exhibitions. Elegant and simple, the lozenge shaped building provides a focal point for the university campus.”

Philip Kolvin, chairman of the Civic Trust, said: “This year's winners include private houses and public spaces, museums, schools and public art.

“We are proud that the awards encompass such a wide range of schemes and allow commercial developments to compete with community projects in providing better places for people.”

An Essex University spokeswoman said after the royal quip: “The Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall is regarded as a flagship building.

“It's probably the most striking modern building on the campus.

“But I don't think we want to make too much of what the Prince said. It was just a throwaway remark.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter