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Designing for the Designers \

Stephen Cousins takes an indepth look at the nearly completed, newly refurbished, University College London’s Bartlett School of Architecture.

Hawkins\Brown has given students at the Bartlett a lesson in cost and sustainability, stripping the school’s home back to its core to modernise and extend it...

Hawkins\Brown’s upgrade involves a series of structural manoeuvres and three areas of extension, intended to open up the building and maximise space to give every student a dedicated desk. The facade was demolished, but the concrete stair and lift cores retained. Holes were punched through the heart of the plan to improve space and circulation and create areas for people to meet.

Where the old layout was hierarchical – staff and student spaces were assigned to different floors – the new layout encourages transparency and interaction, staff and studio rooms are mixed, and the new circulation creates areas for people to meet and chat...

The improved Bartlett is expected to reopen this autumn. The fact staff and students had direct input into Hawkins\Brown’s design, and a former graduate is on the design team, bodes well for its success in operation.

“The architecture is all about keying into the context and providing a fairly neutral vessel for what happens inside.”

Euan Macdonald Partner

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