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UCL Faculty of Laws delighted to return home to Bentham House

UCL Laws has once again opened the doors of Bentham House to over 100 members of staff and 1000 students following a major three-year redevelopment

Bentham House in the snow

26 March 2018

The building, home to the Faculty since 1965, has been transformed, offering 1500sqm of additional space, while maintaining and protecting the much loved Grade II listed rooms and features for the future.

Now occupying 6141sqm and reaching a height of 44.863m, Bentham House has almost 400 more student seats than ever before. Tutorial rooms sit alongside new offices, meeting spaces and common rooms for staff and students.

A bright and modern five story glass atrium at the very heart of the building hosts a café and social space for all of the UCL Laws community to come together.

Professor Piet Eeckhout, Dean, UCL Laws said:

I am absolutely thrilled to have the pleasure to welcome the Faculty back home to Bentham House.

UCL Laws has, at long last, a home fit for our world-leading research, teaching and social enterprise. The project has given the Faculty more than a building: it’s given us an inspiring environment in which our whole community can come together.

The redevelopment team, led by Professor Dame Hazel Genn, have truly done the Faculty proud. I am immensely grateful for their tremendous efforts.

I look forward to seeing what the future holds for UCL Laws in Bentham House’. 

Bentham House

The imaginative redesign of Bentham House was created by architects Levitt Bernstein, in collaboration with UCL Laws and UCL Estates as part of Transforming UCL, the largest capital programme in the university’s history. The plans were desperately needed in response to an ageing building, modern methods of learning and an expanding body of students and staff.

Professor Dame Hazel Genn, Project Sponsor said:

‘At the very core of the vision for redeveloping Bentham House has always been how the building will support, inspire and motivate the world-class teaching and thriving research culture within UCL Laws.

The highly creative plans for the building have seamlessly married the much-loved traditional spaces with bright, modern facilities, giving our Faculty a home that reflects and respects its heritage, while also supporting and driving its forward-thinking, global agenda.

It has been such an immense pleasure to lead the redevelopment from inception to completion, and I look forward to seeing the possibilities Bentham House is home to for generations to come’.  

Bentham House

For the first time, the adjacent building Hillel House, which had previously housed the Gideon Schreier and Graduate Wings since 2001, is now fully integrated into Bentham House. The redesign has increased and simplified connection routes around the building, greatly improving wheelchair accessibility.

A suite of flexible teaching spaces has been created, along with a specialist study centre for graduate students. This dedicated space will allow PhD students to study on-site, alongside academics, and to be in the midst of the thriving research culture at UCL Laws.

UCL Laws’ specialist research and pro bono initiatives, such as the UCL Centre for Access to Justice and the Bentham Project, will have dedicated space within the building to facilitate and further their work.  Visiting academics, scholars and distinguished judicial visitors will also be welcomed, allowing collaborative working and space to exchange ideas.

Lecture theatre, Bentham House

Students, and student space, has always been at the very heart of the project. Throughout the redevelopment process, groups of UCL Laws students and alumni were invited to come to the site and witness the progress for themselves. 

Students tour Bentham House, March 2017

Firoza Dodhi, UCL Laws LLM student and President of the UCL Laws Graduate Society, said:

'I was so thrilled to be able to visit the newly renovated Bentham House last month. The efforts of everyone involved have ensured an incredible final result! I began my LLB in the old Bentham House and felt a familiar sense of belonging as I walked through the halls.

This building continues to encapsulate character and ambition; the new space is bright, accessible and open. The balance between charm and convenience will allow students, Faculty and staff to interact - building the collegiate environment UCL Laws is recognised for.'

Alumni tour of Bentham House, March 2017

Members of UCL Laws have a strong sense of community, even long after graduating. Many alumni, now at the top of their professions, often ask after Bentham House and recount stories about their time studying and socialising there.

Crucial developments to Bentham House over the years would not have been possible without the generosity and continuing support of the Faculty’s alumni and friends.

Particular thanks are owed to the late Sir Bernard Schreier for the Gideon Schreier Wing; to Vincent Cheung (LLB 1965) for the Denys Holland Lecture Theatre and to Winston Chu (LLB, 1960) for the Cissy Chu Common room.

Find out more about supporting the future of UCL Laws by sponsoring a seat in Bentham House 

Image gallery 

Transforming UCL

The redevelopment of Bentham House has been delivered by UCL Estates as part of Transforming UCL, the largest capital programme in the university’s history. Transforming UCL will see substantial investment of over £1.2 billion over a 10-year period to refurbish and develop some of UCL’s most iconic buildings whilst also bringing forward new world class buildings. Together these will enable and support the University’s continued growth.

Levitt Bernstein

Levitt Bernstein is a practice of architects, urban designers and landscape architects with over 120 staff working from design studios in London and Manchester. We believe that good design can transform lives and apply this principle to our education, housing, health, arts and commercial projects of all shapes and sizes across the country.

Photographs-

Copyright Levitt Bernstein