Transforming UCL


New Student Centre team celebrate end of excavation

19 May 2017

UCL Estates is pleased to announce a major milestone in the construction of its flagship Transforming UCL project, the New Student Centre.

End of Excavation event. Image credit: David Poultney

The team are celebrating reaching the end of the excavation, having dug a total of 11.5 metres into the London clay to create the two-storey basement. So far 247 piles have been cast which, if aligned, would measure 14 times the height of The Shard.

After over 6,400m3 of material being removed from the ground, two boreholes drilled reaching 110m deep into the aquifer and more than 117,000 hours spent on the dig in total, this event is a huge achievement for the whole team.

Professor Anthony Smith, Vice-Provost (Education & Student Affairs) and Programme Board sponsor, said:

"It's exciting to see the New Student Centre taking shape. This project is just one example of UCL's commitment to our students, making inspiring spaces where they can learn and create knowledge."

The excavation was celebrated on 18th May with a short ceremony and speeches by Professor Michael Arthur, President and Provost of UCL, Simon Allen, Project Director and Terry Spraggett, Director for Public Sector Construction at Mace.

Terry Spraggett said:

"This is a big moment for the project - we've bottomed out the dig and from this point forward we'll be working to build the New Student Centre up and out. UCL is a fantastic client, and Mace is proud to be helping to equip the next generation of students with the skills and education they need to succeed." 

Professor Michael Arthur and Nayoung Jeong. Image credit: David Poultney

The Provost was joined in finishing off the last concrete slab by Nayoung Jeong, a PhD ceramics student from the Slade School of Art who is working with clay excavated from the New Student Centre site. 


Delivered by UCL Estates, designed by Nicholas Hare Architects and constructed by Mace, the New Student Centre aims to provide a mix of learning spaces varying in character and size, creating different types of individual study and group collaboration settings, as well as more social learning environments.

Due to complete in December 2018, 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.

Read more about the New Student Centre here: www.ucl.ac.uk/transforming-ucl/current-projects/new-student-centre