Innovative Academic Spaces: Marshgate UCL East Building, London

Innovative Academic Spaces: Marshgate UCL East Building, London
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Architectural Marvel: Marshgate UCL East Building

Stanton Williams has unveiled Marshgate, a cutting-edge academic building spanning 35,000 sqm, positioned at the forefront of the UCL East campus in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. This state-of-the-art facility is strategically designed to foster collaboration and interdisciplinary learning, with a focus on addressing contemporary societal, environmental, and technological challenges. The building stands as UCL’s largest single structure, offering a dynamic environment for teaching, research, and collaboration across various disciplines.

Multidisciplinary Learning Spaces

Featuring eight floors, Marshgate accommodates open and adaptable spaces catering to diverse fields such as creative industries, engineering, robotics, green technologies, and global health. The design encourages new modes of working, facilitating novel research avenues and disciplines. Breaking away from traditional university campus structures, Marshgate aims to dismantle siloes, promoting cross-disciplinary learning, thinking, and research by bringing together students, academics, and the public.

Architectural Layout and Community Engagement

The building adopts a clustered floor approach, organizing different floors into ‘neighborhoods,’ each boasting a double-height collaboration space for informal meetings and exhibitions. Publicly accessible spaces on the lower levels, including a café, art displays, and engaging activities, connect with schools, community organizations, and the broader public. This integration fosters interaction within the building and its connection to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Strategic Space Configuration

While the ground level primarily hosts public amenities, the central floors are dedicated to student, academic, and research spaces. Highly specialized laboratories and workshops find their place on the upper levels. Stanton Williams, in collaboration with Sheppard Robson, conducted end-user briefings to configure internal spaces, ensuring they align with the University’s needs and standards.

Atrium, Circulation, and Additional Facilities

A central, day-lit atrium acts as a vertical connector, enhancing visibility and creating opportunities for chance encounters and interaction. The building incorporates various facilities, including fabrication workshops, media studios, exhibition areas, design studios, lecture theatres, a library, and spaces for collaboration with local businesses and communities.

Architectural Aesthetics and Sustainability

In a departure from the trend of glassy, lightweight facades, Marshgate echoes the solidity of UCL’s original Bloomsbury campus, paying homage to the site’s industrial history. The façade, featuring in-situ and precast concrete panels, prioritizes durability and energy efficiency. The BREEAM Excellent-rated building aligns with UCL’s sustainability mission, incorporating passive design strategies and aiming to achieve net-zero carbon by 2035.

Milestone Achievement and Future Collaborations

Marshgate, along with the recently completed One Pool Street building, marks the completion of the first phase of the UCL East campus masterplan – the most extensive expansion in UCL’s 200-year history. Situated within the SHIFT innovation district, Marshgate actively participates in collaborative initiatives to enhance urban life’s safety, health, and sustainability. The completion of this landmark building signifies a major milestone in the creation of East Bank, a new cultural quarter for innovation, creativity, and learning.

Stanton Williams’ Marshgate UCL East Building stands not just as an architectural marvel but as a testament to UCL’s commitment to advancing education, fostering collaboration, and shaping the future of multidisciplinary learning.

Written By
Michael Gonzalez

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