Transforming UCL


Wilkins Terrace and Lower Refectory

Project Overview

This project has created a new public open space in the heart of the Bloomsbury Campus on the site of the former Physics Service Yard. Wilkins Terrace is a stunning events area providing space for learning, performances and exhibitions at UCL. 

Alongside the Lower Refectory project it will soon form a new pedestrian route from Gower Street to Gordon Street, enabling pedestrians to flow through the campus from the Wilkins Building, past the New Student Centre to the Bloomsbury Theatre Cafè.

The new terrace area will also allow access from this new seating area, via a new lift and dual stairway, to the Lower Refectory revealing previously concealed spaces on the site.

The terrace area is landscaped in a Portland Stone surface, 'carved out' to create a lower terrace alongside the Lower Refectory and an upper terrace off Wilkins North Cloisters.

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Sustainability has been a key consideration in the planning, resulting in the refectory achieving the sustainability rating – very good – from BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method). This will help to reduce UCL's impact and operational costs, not least due to much improved energy performance and monitoring.

  • Major improvements to building fabric and the efficiency of heating and cooling systems will help to reduce energy consumption and occupant comfort.
  • Indoor air quality has also been optimised through careful selection of paints, varnishes, timber based products and furniture.
  • Upgrades to sanitary facilities will result in lower potable water use, reducing the impact on UCL's infrastructure.
  • The constrained and sensitive nature of the site means that construction impacts had to carefully managed, not least in relation to noise and vibration. In addition, careful monitoring of energy use (and associated CO2 emissions), local pollution and water use has helped to minimise environmental impacts.
  • The selection of durable, high quality materials will help to maximise life cycle value and performance whilst minimising resource use associated with maintenance and repairs.

Inclusion and Access

The Wilkins Terrace and Lower Refectory are designed as inclusive central spaces, well purposed for events, as social spaces and as central spaces to welcome visitors as well as staff and students, to ensure this is possible, several accessibility and inclusion elements were included.

  • Wilkins terrace is accessible from Gower Street via existing ramp access and a new accessible route via lifts and the Bloomsbury Theatre was created from Gordon Square
  • New lift access to the Lower Refectory and Jeremy Bentham Room has made them accessible for the first time; the terrace therefore provides a central accessible space in the middle of the main campus, much improving circulation to and around it
  • The terrace's stepped access is designed alongside sloped access, to allow simple and easy thoroughfare for all users

Time-Lapse Video

We have placed timelapse cameras on some of our larger projects. They give a great perspective on how the construction transforms over a period of several months. Click the video below to see how the project has progressed.


Campus Location

Campus Location