City of Westminster College

London/ UK

Size/ 24,000 m²
Cost/ € 81 million excl. VAT
Competition/ 2006, 1st prize in restricted international competition
Status/ Construction period 2008 – 2010
Client/ City of Westminster College
Engineer/ Buro Happold, United Kingdom
Main Contractor/ McLaren Construction Ltd
Other Consultants/ Knight Frank LLP/ Stace LLP
Awards/ 2011, World Architecture Festival, shortlisted in the Learning category/ 2011, shortlisted for The Concrete Society Awards/ 2011, RIBA Award/ 2011, New London Award, Learning category
Photo/ Adam Mørk

The new flagship campus for City of Westminster College is designed to support new ways of teaching and learning. The 24,000m² college provides much greater amounts of open learning spaces than typical colleges in the UK. The building is designed to embrace interaction and diversity and allows students to learn from each other, both formally and informally. The scheme is extremely sustainable and energy efficient which results in a low maintenance liability, significantly reducing the building’s lifespan costs and carbon footprint.

The College is located in the heart of Central London at Paddington Green on the site of its previous building, an inefficient and failing 1960s block. The building has been designed from the inside-out, responding to the needs of the diverse groups who use the College, as well as taking into account the sensitive local context. It appears as a clean-cut, modern building with a distinct nordic heritage.

The learning spaces are adaptable and flexible so that, in addition to the integrated technology, the students’ development is supported by the diverse architectural spaces of the very building they are in. It is a design which encourages new ways of teaching and learning.

To support connectivity with the local community, most public functions – including an exhibition area, a theatre and a café – are located adjacent to the main entrance before the security turnstiles. The choice of colours for the building is inspired by its context and by the change of the seasons, whilst the light timber panels lining the interior form a contrast to the exposed concrete surfaces and underline the Scandinavian design heritage.

City of Westminster College Paddington Green Campus has won the prestigious 2011 RIBA Award, one of the most rigorously judged architectural awards schemes in the world.

The respective floor plans surrounding the atrium have visual connections from one floor to the other, making the atrium a dynamic centre and the heart of the College. The large atrium, which on some floors extends all the way to the façade, enhances the relationship between the inside and the outside. It offers light-filled, open and inclusive spaces which encourage the interaction between students.

To connect leisure with physical activity, we chose to locate the gym on the fourth floor with access to outdoor terraces and a sports café where students and staff can relax and enjoy the views across London. This level also has academic learning facilities, IT suites and open plan staff rooms. The two top levels are dedicated to focused learning and an in-door/outdoor crèche facility. These floors are characterised by extensive green roof terraces that have different characters and functions.

The Campus has also been shortlisted for the inaugural NLA New London Awards 2011, which recognise the capital’s best building projects.

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