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Transforming UCL

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Student Centre

Project Overview

Located on Gordon Street in the heart of UCL's prestigious central campus, the new Student Centre provides 1,000 ‘study spaces’, designed to facilitate collaborative and research-based learning. It will provide new ways for our students to work, discover and learn for generations to come. 

It also houses UCL’s Student Enquiries Centre and our Student Wellbeing Centre, a drop-in service available for students to seek advice on disability, mental health and wellbeing issues. 

The brand new student centre has eight floors of study areas and other facilities, including:
•    1,000 new study spaces
•    New landscaping, roof terrace and public space 
•    Quiet contemplation room
•    IT clusters 
•    Cafe

It was developed following extensive consultation with more than 1,000 students, including focus groups and surveys.

Sustainability

The centre will be a benchmark of excellence for all future UCL development projects. The high quality design is responsive to change with flexible spaces and integrated technology, and has been designed to utilise the latest sustainable technologies.

The building will be a flagship for sustainability at the university, executing the highest possible levels of environmental performance. Going well beyond regulatory and planning requirements it is on track to achieve the highest possible BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ rating at final certification, following an environmental assessment. This significant achievement has been attained by only 320 buildings in the world.

The sustainable features include:
•    'Passive first' approach to design based on highly efficient building fabric which helps to regulate temperature and minimise energy use
•    Approximately 400square metres of photovoltaics (electric solar panels) on the roof – saving 73.7 barrels of oil each year!
•    Projected reduction in building carbon emissions compared to Building Regulations requirements (Part L 2013)
•    A ground source heat pump to cool the building in the summer
•    Windows that automatically open to naturally ventilate the building in the spring and autumn
•    Efficient sanitary fittings that reduce water consumption by more than 50% compared to equivalent buildings
•    Healthy and productive study spaces that optimise daylight, indoor air quality and provide a comfortable internal climate
•    Highly durable materials helping to minimise resource use associated with maintenance and repairs
•    Bicycle locks to encourage sustainable travel
•    Drinking water fountains

The Japanese Garden, will also be located behind the Student Centre on the roof of the UCL Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering (ACBE). The Japanese Garden will contribute to enhancing the ecological value of UCL’s Bloomsbury Campus. The adjacent Student Centre also has a biodiverse green roof, designed to support a range of native species and enhance the microclimate.

At the main reception on the ground floor, a life-size cast called Untitled, by Turner Prize-winning artist and Slade alumna Rachel Whiteread will be resident at the new Student Centre.

Another art piece called Here Not Here by Jon Thomson (Professor of Fine Art at the Slade) and Alison Craighead (an artist and lecturer at Goldsmiths University), is located on the mezzanine level. The piece will consist of two digital screens streaming data from UCL ID cards: one showing a list of home countries of people who are ‘here’ and the other showing the countries not represented at UCL (‘not here’).

The building also creates a new, accessible east-west connection across UCL’s open and engaging campus between Gordon Street and Gower Street, including the communal spaces such as the Wilkins Terrace and Lower Refectory, which opened in 2018.

Timelapse

During the construction phase of the Student Centre, timelapse cameras were placed to give a great perspective on how the construction transformed the site over a period of several months.

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Student Centre