On Friday 21 February 2014, the Leicestershire and Rutland Society of Architects (LRSA) held a very successful one day design competition for our students which was supported by RIBA East Midlands. The competition was the final event in a series of workshops and presentations offered during DMU's 'Employability Week'. Students had to draw upon all their creative energy when they were set the task of designing a replacement spire for Leicester’s landmark medieval church, St Mary De Castro.
The 900-year-old church, which overlooks the DMU campus, is currently under scaffolding and the spire is being dismantled after it was found to be in imminent danger of collapse.
Prizes were awarded by the Leicestershire and Rutland Society of Architects, the Royal Institute of British Architects (East Midlands Region) and De Montfort University. The prizes were presented by Malcolm Goodall, President of the Society and Professor Raymond Quek, Head of the School of Architecture, in the presence of the Archdeacon of Leicester, the Venerable Dr. Tim Stratford, and the Leicester Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby.
Malcolm Goodall congratulated the efforts made by the students during the one day available and quality of ideas displayed. Raymond Quek reminded the students that this competition replicated the competitive world they will enter where they will need to respond quickly to the needs of their clients. Dr. Tim Stratford thought the winning designs reflected the history of Leicester and the retained ecclesiastical reasons for a spire. Sir Peter Soulsby was proud of the 2000 years of architectural heritage in Leicester and hoped that some of the students would remain in Leicester when qualified as architects to add to the quality of the city’s architecture in the 21st Century.
Members of St Mary de Castro were also present and showed much interest in the designs displayed. It is intended that the designs will be exhibited in the church itself once it reopens after the building and surroundings in Castle Yard have been made safe.