UCL News


Provost's Perspective: study spaces on campus and a New Student Centre

27 March 2015

As the spring term at UCL draws to a close, many students will be turning their thoughts to examinations and dissertations in the period ahead.

Provost's Perspective: Transforming UCL - study spaces on campus and a New Student Centre When I visit different parts of the UCL campus, it is gratifying to see how many excellent new study resources have been put in place in the last few years, and to review the plans for future improvements.

The Cruciform and Anatomy student hubs have been open for some time now, and the enthusiastic uptake of these resources signals how needed they were. In anticipation of an increased level of usage during the examination period, a further new student study hub for UCL students is now available on the third floor of Senate House, providing an alternative quiet study and revision space.

The Library Services website gives details of the options available across the campus and is regularly updated with suggestions of where to study. Students are also welcome to use teaching spaces for quiet study when they are not in use for teaching purposes.

Further improvement to teaching and learning space at UCL is a priority for me. A number of offices at UCL have a stake in the improvement process, and consequently, UCL's Office of the Vice-Provost (Education & Student Affairs), UCL Estates and Student Registry Services are working together to address a range of legacy issues in relation to timetabling and room bookings to ensure that we have systems, processes and spaces to ensure an excellent teaching and learning experience.

Major Projects

New Student Centre front elevation as viewed from Gordon Square.jpg

Work is also underway on a number of major projects to further enhance UCL's campus for students, and those of you in the early years of your degree programmes should have the opportunity to benefit from these. UCL's New Student Centre has been a buzz on Twitter this week, with designs unveiled by Nicholas Hare Architects and a drop-in session held on Wednesday in the South Cloisters for students and staff to view the plans and talk to the design team.

The brief for the New Student Centre was developed following student workshops and a survey carried out in 2012 to develop key themes and recognise the aspirations of existing students. The drop-in session on Wednesday provided the project team with the opportunity to showcase the design and enabled students to give feedback.

The New Student Centre will create 1,000 learning spaces, offering a unique environment for student services and study. The design will offer a range of flexible social study space and student bookable group rooms, including quiet and silent study areas. The facilities will also be equipped with the latest IT functionality with good printing facilities. In addition, a small café will be provided together with the space for students to eat food brought from home.

Japanese Garden elevation of the New Student Centre as viewed from the South Cloisters

The building itself is a truly multifunctional design, with a sympathetic façade and the new open spaces, both inside and out, will become part of the new landscape of UCL.

A big advantage of the positioning of the New Student Centre is that it gives us an opportunity to create a new central access route across the campus, linking the Wilkins building to Gordon Street, taking in and transforming the Japanese Roof Garden. This will create a beautiful new open space to complement the Wilkins Terrace development that will be completed in 2016. 

The New Student Centre project will begin this summer with enabling works to remove the 'node' building, which is adjacent to the Bloomsbury Theatre. Once this critical stage of the project has been carried out, the main works can begin next year.

Wilkins Terrace and Lower Refectory project

The enabling groundworks for the Wilkins Terrace and Lower Refectory project are continuing in the Physics Yard and are due to finish at the end of May, when the main construction will begin. As with all projects, we try to minimise disruption but unfortunately some impact is inevitable given the scale of works and the congested nature of the estate.

This is just a flavour of the multimillion-pound investment in improving the experience of our students - both current and future. Many of you will have noticed the commencement of work at 22 Gordon Street (formerly Wates House, the home of UCL Bartlett) and the ongoing transformation of the UCL Bloomsbury Theatre, which is already providing better facilities for students - you can follow our progress at: www.ucl.ac.uk/transforming-ucl. I'd urge you to take full advantage of these improvements. 



  • New Student Centre front elevation as viewed from Gordon Square (Nicholas Hare Architects)
  • Japanese Garden elevation of the New Student Centre as viewed from the South Cloisters (Nicholas Hare Architects)

Professor Michael Arthur

UCL President & Provost

Comments? Please provide your thoughts on this form.