We designed this project for the Institute of Education prior to the IoE becoming part of University College London: it provides a masterplan and a first phase extension to the 1970’s building designed by Denys Lasdun on Bedford Way in London, which is listed Grade II*.
The site is surrounded by Georgian buildings which are listed Grade II, and is set within a conservation area. The masterplan enables development over some ten years, and is based on an analysis of the Bloomsbury area and its development from the early 19th century, (mainly James Burton, Thomas Cubitt and James Sim) through Leslie Martin’s 1957 masterplan for the University of London to Lasdun’s 1965 proposal for five wings or ‘stepped spurs’ and his built 1977 scheme (in which only one spur is realised).
The project is conceived as a marriage and metamorphosis of the Georgian and Lasdun languages, and the preferred arrangement results from the appraisal of twelve options for the massing of new accommodation.
At planning application stage the project was supported by English Heritage, the 20th Century Society, the Georgian Group and other stakeholders, and by planning officers, but refused at the London Borough of Camden’s planning committee. The Institute challenged this decision successfully at appeal at the end of 2009, and the scheme has consent which is being implemented.
Pevsner described the Lasdun building as ‘highly effective visually, with a strikingly sculptural silhouette of angular concrete escape stairs rising above the floor. The layering and stepping, the pedestrian routes at different heights, and the use of a long single range tying all together can be traced back to Lasdun’s earlier buildings, especially the University of East Anglia.’ We designed the extension and refurbishment of the Central Library at the University of East Anglia , which is also Grade II listed.