The Duke of York has unveiled the foundation stone for the University of Huddersfield’s latest building.
Prince Andrew, who is chancellor of the university, took part in a short ceremony on Wednesday along with university deputy vice-chancellor Prof Tim Thornton to mark the start of construction work on the £30m Barbara Hepworth Building.
The building, named after the West Yorkshire-born sculptor, will be the new home for the study of art, design and architecture.
Its main frontage will overlook the Huddersfield Narrow Canal that runs through the heart of the university’s campus.
The five-storey, 7,500 sq metre building was designed by global architectural practice AHR, which has operations in Huddersfield, and the main contractor is leading construction firm Morgan Sindall.
Both AHR and Morgan Sindall were involved in the development of the university’s striking £28m Oastler Building at Shorehead, which was opened by the Duke of York in April last year.
The development of the Barbara Hepworth Building marks the start of the university’s western expansion of the former Thomas Broadbent and Sons site, which was cleared in 2016.
It will eventually lead to the redevelopment of the area around Queen Street South, that will be known as the Western Campus.
The Barbara Hepworth Building will occupy about 20% of this site, leaving some 20,000 sq metres available for at least four more buildings as part of the university’s rolling programme of development.
Prince Andrew combined his visit to the building site with attending the Huddersfield heat of the Duke of York’s Pitch@Palace, a competition to find up-and-coming new enterprises and give them the chance to meet business people who can help them as potential mentors, advisers, investors and distributors.
The university-hosted event focused on start-ups involved in generating, capturing and analysing data and data security.
Businesses making the best “pitch” for support will be invited to attend a Pitch@Palace Bootcamp next month at Manchester University – and perhaps go on to become one of 12 businesses to present in front of an international audience of entrepreneurs, investors, media and technology figures at St James’ Palace later in the year.
Established in 2014, Pitch@Palace has helped more than 490 businesses grow – with some going on to enjoy global success.