A student’s innovative design for a new art and community centre in Marsh has won her a prestigious property award.

University of Huddersfield student Lucy Gregson was inspired by the desire to bring communities and people back together after the separation of the pandemic.

Lucy, who has just finished her second year of Architecture (International) at the university, was one of two winners of the Women in Property Yorkshire and North East Student Awards held at Knights in Leeds. She will now go forward for the national final on September 21.

Lucy was put forward for the award following her project in which she designed an art and community centre for Marsh, on the outskirts of Huddersfield.

Key to Lucy’s project was a desire to bring people together in the wake of Covid-19 and the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

Lucy said: “We were encouraged to explore the idea of community in Marsh, and I like the idea of holistic architecture and designing for a community that is actually going to help.

“Marsh has high numbers of people living alone and people over 60, a lot of solitary people and I wanted to work on that. There are a high number of Christians and Muslims, so I made sure there was a prayer room. 

“To get people interacting, I made sure the centre would have cafes, communal areas and a charity shop at the front to tie in with the idea of giving back to the community and donating. It was a community-based project, and it addressed the needs of the community.”

The Marsh project and another undertaken in her second year have underlined the importance of research in architecture for Lucy.

“I have also designed a centre for heritage studies, because Yorkshire has such a rich industrial heritage with the mills that was a route I wanted to explore.

“I enjoy the research, and you can tell from an architecture project how much effort has gone into the research stage which was something I had not realised that before I came to university. Architects tell us never to under-estimate that stage, and that every single line on your page needs to have a reason.”

Danilo Di Mascio, senior lecturer in architecture, praised Lucy’s project and her approach and said: “She is highly motivated, has a real level of enthusiasm for architecture, and is passionate and dedicated. She’s a great team member and as a student ambassador she has also been involved in several of our open days.

“The idea was to design a community centre that could enrich the place and people’s identity through architecture, and she did a wonderful job with her design.

“The idea was also to make the area safer and more inclusive, to provide educational and cultural events for people of all ages. Lucy has an interesting, explorative approach to design. She tries to think ‘out of the box’ and tries many different design ideas.”