UCL unveils stunning social space at heart of campus
20 September 2017
An innovative new outdoor space located in the middle of UCL’s Bloomsbury campus formally opens today, marking a key milestone in the delivery of the university’s ambitious Transforming UCL project.
The Wilkins Terrace is a unique facility delivered by UCL Estates and designed by Levitt Bernstein Architects to provide an adaptable social and events area for the whole UCL community.
The design makes clever use of the available space and creates a flexible space for people to meet, chat, eat or study – as well as doubling as a facility for evening events, film screenings, exhibitions and fashion shows.
The area is landscaped in Portland Stone, a natural, sustainable choice with a high fossil content that provides a textured finish and adheres to the strict guidelines for working on the Grade I listed building – the Portico area of the Wilkins Building itself having been built from Portland Stone Whitbed in 1829. The terrace area is ‘carved out’, creating connected areas on two levels.
The project also includes the major refurbishment and extension of the Refectory in the undercroft of the Wilkins Building. Designed by Burwell Deakins Architects, this will become the largest catering facility on the Bloomsbury campus. With 324 new seats and a diverse range of carefully developed food options, it offers staff and students a light-filled, collaborative meeting and eating environment.
The Terrace will also open up a new pedestrian route linking the Gower Street and Gordon Street sides of the campus, providing easy navigation and flow from the Wilkins Building, past the Refectory and to the Bloomsbury Theatre Cafè.
Councillor Richard Cotton, Mayor of Camden, said: “Camden is proud to be home to some of the world’s most prestigious academic institutions including UCL. I am delighted to be asked to open this innovative new space landscaped in beautiful Portland Stone and providing modern catering facilities for 324 students. Students from around the world are an important part of the local economy and many go on to become permanent residents in our borough. They deserve the best and this new space will provide it.”
Andrew Grainger, Director of UCL Estates, said: “This is a significant milestone for our Transforming UCL programme delivering flexible outdoor space at the heart of our Bloomsbury campus within an existing Grade I listed building. It is a fabulous space developed for our staff, students and visitors and will benefit and inspire our entire academic community for generations to come. This project – its scope and quality – really encapsulates the vision and scale of Transforming UCL in Bloomsbury and beyond.”
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- Wilkins Terrace at night (credit: Ben Blossom)