UCL unveils its new state-of-the-art student centre
19 February 2019
A new state-of-the-art student centre – creating a new focal point for student life - has been unveiled by UCL in the heart of its Bloomsbury campus.
The multi-purpose student centre provides 1,000 new study spaces, over eight levels, for UCL's 42,000-strong student community. It has been designed to offer essential space to think, explore, collaborate, discover and challenge. It will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every single day of the year. The Student Centre opened its doors to students on 18 February and will be officially opened by UCL President and Provost Professor Michael Arthur on 28 February.
Centred around a spectacular atrium, the building features a quiet contemplation room, a café and rooftop terrace with views across London. The centre also brings together student services including Student Enquiries and Student Support and Wellbeing in one central location.
Professor Anthony Smith, Vice Provost (Education & Student Affairs), said: “From the outset we wanted this building to show our commitment in four areas: to our students and their learning; to great design and construction; to sustainability and the environment; and to the public who can now find a way into UCL and be part of the extraordinary research and teaching that we do. A great team has delivered on all four and I am very proud of what they have achieved. I hope it will inspire generations of students long into the future.”
Located on a site that was unoccupied for over 75 years, the new development opens up routes across campus. A Japanese Garden connects the building the existing campus. Its name originating from the UCL Japan Monument, a tribute to UCL’s earliest students from Japan, the Choshu Five. Through the Japanese Garden, the centre will link to the South Cloisters in the Wilkins Building and out into the Front Quad, providing a fully pedestrianised and accessible new route across campus from Gower Street to Gordon Street. A second route links the Student Centre to Malet Place, via the space outside the Bernard Katz Building and the South Quad.
The building, designed by UCL alumnus and lead architect James Eades of Nicholas Hare Architects, 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.
James Eades, Partner at Nicholas Hare Architects and UCL alumnus, said: "It has been a real privilege to work on this landmark project with UCL, an experienced client with high expectations, on a sensitive site needing something special. The building transforms this part of campus, and brings outstanding environmental credentials to the creation of an inclusive and exciting workplace for students: a refined asset of real quality that should serve UCL long into the future."
There is also specially commissioned contemporary art, including a new sculpture by Turner Prize-winning artist Rachel Whiteread - alumna of UCL’s Slade School of Fine Art - and an innovative digital art installation by multidisciplinary art duo Thomson & Craighead. Large digitally printed artworks by UCL students have also been selected to feature in study rooms around the centre.
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 our most iconic buildings whilst also bringing forward new world-class buildings.
The £67.4 million Student Centre was created by investment from UCL plus support from a generous group of UCL alumni and friends. Students are a priority project for the It's All Academic campaign – UCL’s most ambitious philanthropic and engagement campaign aiming to raise £600 million. From funding study spaces in the new Student Centre to raising support for scholarships, It’s All Academic. UCL recently celebrated the power of scholarships to drive transformational education at the annual Scholarships Reception, this year hosted in the Student Centre.
To find out how you can support the student centre, please click here.
Nicholas Hare Architects (c) Alan Williams Photography.