Hawkins Brown submits plans to double teaching space

Renowned architecture school The Bartlett has submitted a £30m scheme designed by Hawkins Brown for the redevelopment of its building, Wates House, for planning.

The project will see the structure retained but the accommodation entirely reconfigured to double the amount of teaching and research space.

Central to the design philosophy was opening up the façade to reveal the activity within, said Euan Macdonald, partner at Hawkins\Brown.

This has been achieved by placing formal and informal exhibition spaces at ground floor level, inserting a new staircase to open up the building’s circulation, re-orientating the entrance and expressing key spaces to give strategic views of London.

“Designing the home of The Bartlett School of Architecture has been a challenging, but richly rewarding experience,” said Macdonald.

“Our design has evolved through intensive dialogue with the building users and the planning, conservation and design officers at Camden. Key drivers are the creation of a building that reflects the quality of the school’s teaching and research, while also making a positive contribution to the surrounding conservation area.”

The project is part of UCL’s wider programme to modernise its Bloomsbury Campus and is seen as an important opportunity to demonstrate how the retrofit of the 1970s building stock is possible.

Alan Penn, dean of The Bartlett, UCL’s Faculty of the Built Environment, said: “A real challenge facing society is how best to improve the quality of buildings constructed just a few decades ago. We decided to retrofit Wates House rather than to demolish and rebuild. Retaining the existing structure not only saves embodied energy, but adds a certain quirkiness to the design.”

Andrew Grainger, director of UCL Estates, said the project would include a new full-height extension facing Gordon Street and a lateral extension to the building perimeter.

“With its impressive façade, the new Wates House will act as a gateway to Bloomsbury’s university quarter,” he said.

For the two academic years starting September 2014 The Bartlett School of Architecture will relocate to a temporary home on Hampstead Road, also designed by Hawkins\Brown.

Subject to planning approval from the London Borough of Camden, the project is expected to start on site before the end of the year.