UCL East Marshgate – Study Tour

Plan A Higher Education Sector attended the NLA Study Tour of UCL East Marshgate. Designed by Stanton Williams, the building is the main educational component of the first phase of UCL East. At 35,000sqm, Marshgate is UCL’s largest single building and offers flexible teaching and collaboration spaces via a range of laboratories, research and group working areas, design studios, student-led fabrication workshops and exhibition areas.

Richard Wardle, Director at Stanton Williams, presented the key design concepts and followed up with a comprehensive tour of the building alongside Steve Toon, Design Director at AKT II. Flexible, adaptable design was key to ensure the building could respond to the changing needs of future generations.

Our main takeaways from the presentation and tour for achieving adaptability within Higher Education buildings were:

  • Create strong links with the existing community. Stanton Williams Architects achieved this by prioritising outward looking design and fostering public engagement by keeping the ground and first floor open to the public.
  • Design floor plates for the long-term. AKT II highlighted that at Marshgate a regular 9x9m grid was utilised to enable future flexibility.
  • Effective programming for multiple uses and functions. At Marshgate floors have been designed and grouped into academic neighbourhoods.
  • Focus on circulation and break-out spaces for the promotion of interaction. Stanton Williams Architects positioned the break-out spaces and express routes (the escalators and stairs) around the central atrium.
  • Retain the ability to respond to future site and neighbourhood changes. In the library space on the first floor, double height glazing can be replaced to create a bridge link to the future adjacent building as the masterplan develops.

We were particularly keen to see the completed building, as we were appointed directly by Stanton Williams as Design Managers during RIBA Stage 2 to Stage 4a.

#highereducation #architecture #designmanagement

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