The £67.4 million multi-purpose Student Centre, located in the centre of London, provides 1,000 new study spaces, over eight levels, for UCL's 42,000-strong student community. It has been designed to encourage new ways of collaborative and research-based learning.
Centred around a spectacular atrium, the building includes features such as a new artwork by Turner Prize-winning artist Rachel Whiteread, a landscaped courtyard, a café and rooftop terrace with views across London. It officially opened its doors to students and the general public on 18 February 2019.
A sustainable building, a supportive environment
Designed by Nicholas Hare Architects and built by Mace, the centre is a flagship for sustainability and will be one of the greenest student centres in the UK. It is on track to achieve BREEAM 'Outstanding', the highest measure of a building’s environmental, social and economic impact.
A key focal point of the centre will be the walk-in Student Enquiries Centre offering wellbeing advice and support. There is a multi-faith quiet contemplation room, a wellness room for meditation and dedicated consultation rooms that provide a calm and supportive space for students.
The building will be available to students 24/7 for 365 days a year. Its 1,000 study spaces vary in character and size, creating different types of individual study and group collaboration settings.
Students and the public will also have shared access to the ‘Japanese Garden’ courtyard - named after the ‘Choshu Five’, Japanese students who came to UCL some 150 years ago and went on to be some of the founders of modern Japan.
Located between listed buildings in the Bloomsbury Conservation Area, the building exterior respects this heritage yet projects a modern, forward-looking image. The façade features boldly exposed reconstituted stone at lower levels and brickwork at upper storeys, with large areas of glass framed in bronze anodised aluminium.
Transparency is a theme that runs throughout. Huge windows allow light to flood through, providing students with a bright and open environment in which to study.
Throughout the building, materials are left in their natural state - acting both as a design feature and contributing to the thermal stability of the building.
The Student Centre is designed to welcome members of the public who will be able to walk through the ground floor levels of the centre to the Japanese Garden and the Wilkins Building and main campus beyond.
The high-profile and ambitious project is part of Transforming UCL - the largest capital programme in the University's history. It will see a substantial investment of over £1.25 billion over the next 10 years to refurbish and develop some of its most iconic buildings while also bringing forward new world-class buildings.
Photos: Nicholas Hare Architects © Alan Williams Photography