A large number of the Hawkins\Brown team are alumni of the Bartlett and have fond memories of the old Wates House. Renamed 22 Gordon Street, the building is the first major project of Transforming UCL, a decade-long programme of improvements to the university's Bloomsbury campus. The refurbishment has delivered a flexible, robust building, launched as the starting point of a new estates strategy that will help the school continue to grow and innovate.
With an original capacity of 380 students and 90 staff when it first opened 40 years ago, the new 8,500-square-metre-building has doubled it's capacity, now accommodating 1,000 students and staff. Keeping the original concrete framework, the interior was completely reconfigured, and two extra levels have been added, taking the height of the building to six storys.
Hawkins\Brown wanted to create "a dense, social and networked building" for students and staff. A wooden staircase with black metal balustrades rises through a full-height atrium, designed as a "social generator". It forms the primary circulation space for the whole campus, encouraging students to cross paths on their way between open-planned studios.
Extra socialising spaces, and the removal of all studio doors, are intended as further aids for interaction. Double-height glazing at street level and a more prominent entrance are intended to create a "shop window" for the school. A gallery joins the existing auditorium to provide space for both school and public events.
Hawkins\Brown previously created an interim space for architecture students and staff while it remodelled the school's permanent campus. This warehouse-like space was subdivided with wooden partitions.
“As an academic space 22 Gordon Street is far more social and interconnected; as an institution, it has become better integrated to its context, outward-looking and welcoming to the public.”
Euan Macdonald, Studio Partner at Hawkins\Brown
“Moving to Hampstead Road was a revelation for the school and the temporary home enabled us to develop our approach to both teaching and research.”
Bob Sheil, Director at the Bartlett School of Architecture