The happy ending to the story of ambitious project to refurbish iconic Engineering Building

The Herculean task of replacing the iconic roof of one the world’s most revered pieces of 20th-century architecture has been captured on the page by the lead designer of the project.

The University has published Diamond-tipped, the story of how the ambitious refurbishment of its Engineering Building was accomplished. Written by Thomas Pearson, an architectural conservationist at Arup, it offers an unrivalled insight into the Grade II* listed building, completed in 1963 to designs by architects James Stirling and James Gowan.

Published by the University of Leicester, the new book is available to purchase at Shop@LE (the University's online store) or from the bookshop of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

While the prospect of re-glazing a glass building might seem simple, the reality has been formidably challenging; Diamond-tipped documents the process, exploring the nuances of the conservation approach, the intricacies of the design, and the continuing resonance of the building today. The book includes sketches, technical drawings and photographs all the way through from concept design to completion, and presents Stirling & Gowan’s original design ‘warts and all’.

Thomas said: “The Engineering Building is famous in the architectural world, and the original design has been well documented already. I wanted to describe what happened next: the decline of the building’s health over half a century and what was done recently to fix it. It’s a fascinating story with a really happy ending."