Marshgate, a new project for UCL East, London
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Marshgate: collaborating for the future of the planet

A new project for UCL East, London

Stanton Williams

Marshgate, a new project for UCL East, London
By Editorial Staff -

Conceived to create collaborative spaces for new generations of students and academic discussion, Marshgate is a landmark building. It’s part of University College London’s UCL East campus. Among the most prestigious universities in the world, UCL was founded in 1826 and is famous for being the first university open to students of all religions, and for giving equal recognition to men and women. Dedicated to a multidisciplinary approach to education, and with a very contemporary emphasis, Marshgate provides 35,000 m2 of academic space. Located within London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, it was designed by Stanton Williams as an environmentally responsible project that not only responds to the major social and climate challenges of the 21st century and the near future, but also to advancing technology. The architecture reflects these principles in an eight-story building that hosts the new faculties and disciplines offered by the UCL East campus. The building’s corridors, stairways, and elevators ensure easy access to any area.

The teaching spaces have been designed to be flexible, easily adapting to the needs of students and staff. During teaching days, these collaborative spaces will alternate between hosting classes in, for example, creative industries, engineering, robotics, green technology, and medicine.

From the architects’ perspective, Marshgate can be regarded as a truly replicable model, a prototype for a new way of organizing both academic spaces and whole campuses that promotes multidisciplinary teaching, thought, and research. And its approach to organizing space came into being after extensive interaction between the studio and its client.

“The issues facing people and the planet have never been more complex or more urgent,” said UCL East director, Paola Lettieri. “The increased scale and space that UCL East will give us, on a campus where departments and faculties are all coming together to problem solve under the same roof, will accelerate breakthroughs and the disruptive discoveries UCL is known for around the world. Marshgate, with its magnificent design and extraordinary facilities, will be home to world-beating research and study programs that will most certainly have an impact at both the local and global levels”.

 

Designed as small neighborhoods

Marshgate, Stanton Williams ©Hufton+Crow, courtesy of Stanton Williams


Stanton Williams designed each level of Marshgate, along with the life that will go on there, as if they were small city neighborhoods focused on collaboration and sharing. On the lower levels, which are open to the public, there are spaces for educational and school activities, exhibitions, services, and a coffeeshop, all connected to London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

The upper floors, however, are mainly academic spaces dedicated to students, researchers, and staff, with the more specialized laboratories located on the top floors. Each small academic neighborhood is connected to the others visually via the large, airy central atrium, which clarifies the connections between the various areas of the building.

 

>>> Bernard Tschumi Architects and Groupe-6 jointly design the Biology–Pharmacy–Chemistry Center at Université Paris-Saclay

 

Architecture that bucks the trend

Marshgate, Stanton Williams ©Hufton+Crow, courtesy of Stanton Williams
 

One of the most notable trends over recent years has been façades that are often glazed and light in appearance. For Marshgate, however, Stanton Williams focused on solidity and the sculptural aspect to reflect both the features of the original campus and the area’s industrial past. Windows aren’t absent but establish a dialogue with the prominent cladding panels, while allowing natural light to enter the interior.

Sustainability was embraced as a shared value of the studio and UCL East, and the building has earned BREEAM Excellent certification, with high thermal and insulation performance, and energy produced from renewable sources. The goal is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035.

“Marshgate will be a place for curiosity, learning, and collaboration,” said Gavin Henderson, principal director of Stanton Williams, “but also a place engaged with the culture of the surrounding city to promote a new type of university experience”.

 

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Credits

Location: London, UK
Architect: Stanton Williams
Client: UCL
Contractor: Mace ltd
Landscape: Vogt Landscape
Structural Design: AKT II
MEP, Infrastructure, Lighting, Acoustics, Logistics, Vertical Transportation, Transport, BIM, Security, Sustainability: Arup
Project Manager: WSP / Turner and Townsend

Photography by Hufton+Crow, courtesy of Stanton Williams

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