Ziggurats Accommodation, University of East Anglia

The purpose of this refurbishment was to preserve and rejuvenate the 1960’s concrete at the UEA Campus. We provided forensic structural engineering services in the development of a five-year concrete preservation plan, waterproofing, drainage designs and detailed repair specifications.

The work also included improvements to the safety of the high-level walkways to decrease the potential for falls from the relatively low balustrades.

In 1962, Denys Lasdun was appointed by the University of East Anglia as their founding Architect and designed the core buildings including the Teaching Wall, the raised walkways, Central Square and the ‘ziggurats’ of the Norfolk and Suffolk Terraces, with exposed fair-faced concrete as the principal structural material.

The terraces are of cross wall construction with many of the structural walls and external panels created from precast concrete panels formed on site.  The teaching wall walkways are constructed from cast in-situ concrete.

A big challenge was that the buildings were granted Grade 2/2* status, but in common with much of the concrete building stock in this country from the 1960’s the material has suffered from varying degrees of weathering and deterioration over the years.  This could be seen with spalling to the concrete surfaces and rust staining from corroding reinforcement.

We were commissioned by the UEA from 2011 to develop a five-year plan for the rejuvenation and preservation of the concrete.

Ziggurats_Before_External       Ziggurats_Before_External1

Above Images: Before Refurbishment

Unfortunately, when we first viewed the Campus at the beginning of 2011, these highly valued Listed buildings from the 1960’s were in extremely poor condition with spalling concrete, general decay and grime which, in our view, undermined that sense of place.

The buildings appeared unloved and in a condition which detracted from the overall excellent student experience which the UEA prides itself upon.

Video Below: After Refurbishment

Viewing the buildings now, following this five-year project, is like being transported back via a Tardis to a period when the UEA design was considered a brave new world in architectural concepts and modern thinking.


From investigations, areas were identified needing replacement.  All deteriorated concrete has been removed and the reinforcement has been either replaced or treated. Over 14,000m2 of concrete surface was cleaned, repaired and protected. On the Walkway we removed existing paving, screed, waterproofing and drainage outlets. Added new paving slabs (marshalls Conversion Textured) and Asphalt waterproofing.

Martin Lovatt, UEA Estates has said;

“Clancy Consulting were commissioned by us at the beginning of 2011 as forensic structural engineers on the Concrete Preservation project.  Clancy were an integral part of the team and helped deliver the five-year plan to repair and preserve the listed concrete structures at the University of East Anglia.

From the outset, the surveys, investigations and designs through to the site works were completed on time and within budget each year with the minimum of client management.

We are delighted with the overall outcome of the project which has transformed and rejuvenated the iconic Grade 2* ziggurats and other concrete structures back to their former glory.  The designers and contractors collaborated extremely well and the five-year procurement strategy allowed the team to learn and improve each year ensuring that exceptional quality was achieved.”

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