UCL at Here East
A unique and innovative centre for interdisciplinary research, teaching and training in architectural, engineering, heritage, and performance-based futures.
The Bartlett School of Architecture and UCL’s Engineering Sciences Faculty each lacked the space to undertake large scale fabrication, robotics, and prototyping work within their Bloomsbury campus.
The repurposing of 6,200 sqm metres of the former Olympic Park broadcast centre brought both schools together for the first time and offered UCL unrivalled opportunities to develop new research, teaching and enterprise programmes as well as a platform for future expansion in East London.
The facility needed to support a diverse number of activities – from controlled laboratory work to design studios – and encourage as much collaboration and innovation between departments as possible. Our design distributes an interconnected suite of learning and teaching environments throughout the space, with a front-of-house zone for human scale teaching and social spaces, and a back-of-house zone for technical and sensitive manufacturing, fabrication spaces and laboratory activities.
A 300 seat auditorium acts as a centrepiece for social, collaborative, and multi-disciplinary learning. Lectures, performances, and smaller group work can all be accommodated across its variety of platforms and stages.
On the first floor, two 40-seat Harvard-style lecture theatres offer The Bartlett Real Estate Institute teaching spaces that encourage discussion and debate between the speaker and audience. These are co-located with a series of design studios, seminar rooms and office spaces, which all take advantage of the limited amount of natural daylight available.
The interior design of UCL’s space is unified by bespoke timber utility walls. These functional joinery elements provide additional workspaces, private study booths, storage, display areas, and essential acoustic absorption across the space. The warm and tactile materiality contrasts the robust, industrial finishes of the workshops and fabrication zone.
This is a tremendously exciting breakthrough for The Bartlett, UCL, and the UK. Our field and discipline is currently undergoing a creative and interdisciplinary renaissance. Intimate new relationships with complimentary disciplines of engineering, performance, art, and manufacturing are provoking new paradigms for critical thinking and creative production. I’m particularly proud of UCL’s vote of confidence in the constellation of departments involved in this historic and pioneering leap into the future.