UCL News


Library of the Month Special Feature: the UCL Student Centre

28 February 2019

In this special feature, Robert Vilkelis joins Student Centre Manager Amad Uddin to uncover a place where you can discover something new, visit after visit.

The UCL Student Centre

Picture a grand central atrium soaked in natural light. Imagine sitting down and gazing up, following zig-zagging stairwells and patterns of wood that tie the building together. Where will you go next? One of the quiet study spaces? One of the 16 bookable rooms? The bright Aspretto café? Or will you enjoy the views more – maybe head up to the terrace on the top floor? Welcome to the abundance of the UCL Student Centre.


“Ground-breaking and pioneering”

Step off of Gordon Street and into the warmth, and you can feel the embrace of bright wood, soothing greys and streaming light. The Student Centre isn’t just a place to study: it’s a space to find inspiration.

“The Student Centre is truly ground-breaking and pioneering,” Amad tells us, “A building with everything under one roof, from study spaces to showers, to prayer rooms, to a café, and to a terrace on the roof to relax and catch your thoughts.”

“I love the design elements from the structure and fittings of the building to design of the furniture dotted around the building. Every room in the student centre is unique in its own way.”

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself choosing which rooms are your favourites. I’ve already got my eye on the third floor overlook where I can sit facing the vast atrium – and the welcoming teal furniture of the social study room comes a close second. You’ll want to grab that shot of you at level with the Portico dome the moment you set foot on the fourth floor terrace, too.

The Student Centre imparts a strong sense of architectural ambition – and there’s something inspiring about coming to work in the presence of ambition. You can appreciate the “Research as Art” images adorning the walls created by students and staff to illustrate the research we do, too – and knowing that the building is on track to receive an outstanding certification for its sustainability and environmental friendliness is just the icing on the cake.


Catering to the needs of the modern student

1000 multi-use study spaces, 300 PC's, 156 rentable laptops. 7 floors. If you’re looking for choice, flexibility and opportunity, look no further.

“Look at the student centre guide and decide where you want to go, or walk freely and choose. There are social study spaces where you can work in groups, quiet study areas, and 16 beautiful bookable rooms with LCD screens, AV, and whiteboards.”

Do you crave contemplative silence? Take a seat in a cluster room. Do you long for inspiration? Park yourself along one of the balconies and soak in the atmosphere. Do your friends want to study together? Better book those rooms Amad mentioned ASAP.

Of course, life isn’t all about productivity (or procrastination). If you’re looking for a break, all you need to do is step outside to find yourself in the Japanese garden commemorating the Chōshu Five: the perfect place to refresh the studying mindset. If caffeine is more your speed, then hit up the Aspretto café on the third floor, where you can also grab yourself a sandwich.

The Student Centre caters for the needs of the modern student. It makes you feel really looked after – and there’s more to it than that than just the study spaces.


A lot of support, all under one roof

The UCL Student Centre lives up to its name: it’s more than just a place to work, it’s a place to get all the support you need in getting the most out of your everyday student life.

“This building is unique. We have Student Enquiries and Student Support and Wellbeing, Library Services, ISD, and the UCL Chaplain – and all under one roof.”

If you need to have a chat when you need it most, you can find the proud new home of Student Services on the first floor. Whatever support you need, the Student Centre is a welcoming and centralised first point of call.


There’s never been a time to come like now

The Student Centre just opened on 18 February. It’s a shiny new space with so much to discover. Three visits in, and I still haven’t seen it all myself.

Need that extra nudge to explore? The Student Centre hosts two specially commissioned works of contemporary art: a sculpture by Turner Prize-winning artist and UCL alumna Rachel Whiteread, and a digital installation reflecting UCL’s international staff and student diversity by the artistic duo Thomson & Craighead. Come and check them out.

Half of the joy of coming here is the exploration. The other half? That’s for you to decide.