Teaching & Learning


Transforming UCL opens state-of-the-art teaching and learning space at Torrington Place

10 January 2018

Torrington Place opens as a major new teaching and learning space, designed to support a wide range of pedagogies through flexible configurations and embedded technology

The reception area in the newly refurbished Torrington Place

A major addition to UCL’s teaching and learning estate at Torrington Place opened for use on Monday 8 January, alongside the main quad Teaching Pop Up and a refurbished floor at Central House.

The substantially reconfigured and completely refurbished Ground and Lower Ground floors of 1-19 Torrington Place provide the largest amount of contiguous, high-quality, centrally bookable teaching space on the Bloomsbury campus. Delivered by UCL Estates as part of Transforming UCL, the university’s extensive £1.2 billion building and refurbishment programme, Torrington Place is a model for the future development and evolution of the teaching estate.

1-19 Torrington Place features 10 new teaching rooms of capacities ranging from 18 – 120 seats, supporting different pedagogies, together with informal learning spaces. Outside of the formal teaching rooms there are plenty of areas for students and staff to rest, study and collaborate between classes, with ample power sockets and accessible laptop tables. The project includes reconfigured reception areas with improved circulation space. Accessibility, inclusion and sustainability have been key drivers throughout this project which also includes improved access to the building, the installation of gender neutral toilets, re-provision of the multi-use room and water fountains on each floor reflecting wider inclusion and sustainability priorities.

Professor Anthony Smith, Vice Provost (Education and Student Affairs), said: ‘

We are very glad to see the new teaching spaces come into use at Torrington Place. UCL education emphasises student-led research, group work and public-facing outputs. The Torrington Place development supports these new ways of learning through a combination of versatile classrooms, integrated technology, break-out spaces for collaborative and individual work and full accessibility. It provides an excellent model for the wholesale refurbishment of our teaching estate, and I congratulate UCL Estates, ISD Spaces & AV team, and the external design and construction teams for collaborating so successfully.

1-19 Torrington Place is part of a 23% increase in centrally bookable teaching space that will be provided during the 2017-18 academic year. Two other significant projects have also been completed by UCL Estates for Term 2: the Teaching Pop Up in the Main Quad – consisting of two 100 seat and two 50 seat teaching rooms – and a further 91 seat teaching room on the second floor of Central House, providing increased teaching capacity in high specification spaces.

Focus on flexible teaching to support changing pedagogies

  • G08 and G09 are standard classrooms, each with a capacity of 18.
  • G10 has study chairs with note-taking/laptop surfaces, bag storage under the seat and castors to enable quick and easy reconfiguration of the class for collaborative interactions.
  • G20 classroom can be reconfigured using ‘kite’-shaped tables, which enable numerous configurations to support small group-based teaching. The tables are lightweight and stackable.
  • G12 & G13 (capacity 120 each) are state-of-the-art, flat floor lecture theatres with large repeater screens to improve visibility for all.

Technology Assisted Learning (TEAL) supporting teaching with audio visual and collaboration equipment.

  • B07 TEAL room is designed to enable reconfiguration for different modes of learning within a single session. The tables are set out as four groups and each position has its own PC. Unlike a conventional cluster room, the PCs can be concealed, swiftly reconfiguring the room for group-based activities.
  • B21 is a collaborative classroom for small group working. A large display at each table gives the group visibility of the work on a laptop and the teacher has the ability to view the work being done at each table.

Accessibility and inclusion

  • 1-19 Torrington place is now an accessible building with a new accessible reception area. Each of the new lecture theatres has two wheelchair positions. G12 and G13 have voice reinforcement systems and induction loops for hearing aid users. B17 is also equipped with an induction loop.