UCL Student Centre
Civic Trust Awards
Level of Award
Local Authority Area
Information about this scheme
The Student Centre is in the heart of UCL’s Bloomsbury Campus in central London. It is a flagship project within the “Transforming UCL” development programme and provides a progressive and flexible environment that enhances the lives of UCL students and supports their needs and learning.
The ground and upper-ground floor levels are open to the public and the building is staffed and available for students 24/7. The building has achieved exemplary sustainability standards including BREEAM Outstanding. The Student Centre enhances UCL’s rich heritage of distinguished architecture and supports its commitment to strengthening the public realm and the character of the Bloomsbury Conservation Area.
The brief required a truly student- focused building which would be responsive to change, inspirational and enabling. Key components included 1,000 study spaces for students, a Student Enquiries Centre, a café, and spaces for quiet contemplation or prayer. The Student Centre is a new gateway providing a welcoming reception for students, the public and visitors.
The project resolved several vital pedestrian and vehicular routes both externally and through the building, dramatically improving people flow and enhancing the public realm. The Student Centre mediates between the busy Gordon Street entrance, to the existing external Japanese Garden space, re- landscaped as a tranquil urban courtyard for London.
Inside, the differing street and garden levels are brought together with wide central steps, the beginning of a circulation route that spirals up through the building’s lofty atrium. Due to its sensitive context the design was heavily scrutinised by the planners and CABE, ultimately winning strong support from both.
The building façade materials were chosen to complement the qualities of the heritage context. High-quality materials have been selected for durability and longevity and are self-finished where possible to remove the need for less durable, applied finishes. The project has transformed a service entrance into a new and vibrant approach to UCL.
The building extends the civic realm through into the Bloomsbury Campus with its public ground and mezzanine levels, resolving campus circulation routes and re-inventing the Japanese Garden as a tranquil urban courtyard for London.
Nicholas Hare Architects
University College London
Primary Use Class
Class D1c - Education