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Transforming UCL
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Welcome to Transforming UCL

27 September 2017

New Student Centre

New Student Centre view from Gordon Street.

Welcome to UCL! As you start finding your way around, you'll notice several building projects on and around campus. These are all part of Transforming UCL, an ambitious programme of building and refurbishment that is setting out to radically improve UCL's built environment over ten years, and create new and improved student teaching and learning spaces. Let us guide you through some of these exciting projects, current and completed.

Transformation at UCL is nothing new. Since it was first built in 1827, UCL’s main Wilkins Building has been in flux. The quadrangle took 158 years to technically complete, with the North and South wings added at later stages and the Chadwick and Pearson extensions by Hugh Casson that form the main gateway to the university officially opened by the Queen in 1985.

Under the Transforming UCL programme, you’ll see several new projects in and around the Wilkins building, including the brand new Wilkins Terrace and Lower Refectory, which officially opened on the 20 September 2017 for this new academic year. Sitting at the heart of campus this is a must-see sight and lunch destination – look out for a Wilkins Terrace postcard to send home.

Wilkins Terrace - illustration by Peter Rhodes

Wilkins Terrace Postcard. Designed by Peter Rhodes.

Allocating teaching space for our growing student numbers can be a challenge facing our faculties which is why we’re building two new centrally bookable facilities entirely dedicated to teaching and learning. From December 1-19 Torrington Place will provide a brand new, accessible and inclusive teaching hub with three new lecture theatres, multifunctional teaching rooms, a Technology Enhanced Active Learning (TEAL) room for a media-rich, collaborative learning experience, gender neutral toilets and plenty of unbookable communal seating space. It’s available for use by students from across the university, so you never know who you might meet there!

In the Main Quad, the 5-year Temporary Teaching Pop-up is being built to provide new lecture theatres and seminar rooms. A special historically-sensitive ‘art wrap’ has been designed by two artists from the Slade School of Art to help this new structure blend in with its Grade I-listed heritage location. If you pay the Pop-up a visit, you can see Edward Allington, Professor of Fine Art* and Jo Volley, Senior Lecturer's design, which draws on the Portico’s columns and the rich history of UCL.

Coming in late 2018 / early 2019 is the New Student Centre our flagship Transforming UCL project. Built on a previously unoccupied plot in the heart of the campus. This building will provide 1,000 new study spaces, IT clusters, a roof terrace and new landscaped outside space. This space will be dedicated to the student learning experience supporting our students with social learning, wellbeing, IT clusters and outdoor leisure space. A model is available in the main library so take a look!

The New 22 Gordon Street Building

22 Gordon Street. Photograph by Jack Hobhouse.

We’ve also been busy revamping and refitting specialised homes for academic departments at UCL. Make sure you pay a visit to The Bartlett’s award-winning new home at 22 Gordon Street, designed by Hawkins\Brown and built from the core of the old Wates House. Still in progress is the Bentham House transformation, home to UCL Laws since 1965.

Kathleen Lonsdale was a brilliant crystallographer and the first woman tenured professor at UCL. She gives her name to the Grade II-listed Kathleen Lonsdale Building, home to Earth Sciences, Physics and Astrophysics and currently undergoing an ambitious reworking to improve accessibility, sustainability and legibility.

Further afield, just about to complete is the radical new UCL Here East in Stratford, home to 11 robots, cutting-edge labs equipped with analogue and digital fabrication facilities and 3D printing and scanning resources.

You can keep up to date with our activities on Twitter: @TransformingUCL

*We are saddened to hear that Professor Edward Allington has sadly passed away this week. We thank him for the designs he made for us for the teaching pop up in collaboration with his friend and colleague Jo Volley.