22 Gordon Street reopened by HRH Princess Anne

22 Gordon Street, part of UCL was recently opened by HRH Princess Anne. The complete refurbishment provides a fitting new home for the world renowned Bartlett School of Architecture

Andy Keelin, partner, reflects on how this inspiring project evolved into a much more radical refurbishment, increasing the structure’s usable space and providing impressive energy performance. 

HRH Princess Anne unveiling a plaque for the newly refurbished building . Image: Richard Stonehouse
HRH Princess Anne unveiling a plaque for the newly refurbished building. Image: Richard Stonehouse

The new facility will accommodate student studios, offices, teaching and seminar rooms, machinery workshops, computer labs and exhibition spaces. The £30M transformation initially started with more modest refurbishment approach. Buro Happold and the architects Hawkins/Brown team made the case for a more radical approach (referred to as a ‘Deep Retrofit’ by the team) centered around the opportunities to transform the staff and student experience and to reduce the carbon footprint of the building. Extensive use was made of thermal imagining cameras to demonstrate the poor performance of the existing facade and to support the case for its complete replacement.

Through facilitated stakeholder engagement workshops, the emerging brief pointed to a significant increase in occupancy and function spaces requirement which meant a radical new approach in environmental control  and  the decision by the client to rethink the scale of the project enlarging the scope to full refurbishment and major extensions. The resultant extension on each floor and additional two storeys on the existing structure achieves an impressive 120% increase in usable floor area on the same site footprint. Key to the environmental strategy was the investment in the building fabric.

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The inspiring, refurbished building reflects the quality of the school's teaching and research. Image: Richard Stonehouse
The inspiring, refurbished building reflects the quality of the school’s teaching and research. Image: Richard Stonehouse

The high performance building envelope also allows daylight to wash through the building while controlling solar gain and limited heat loss in winter. This is complemented by the modular and low tech approach to building services which are  flexible, low energy and provide a simple user interface to control the environment. The building is connected to the low carbon UCL district heating system and the building and has been awarded a BREEAM excellent rating in the challenging refurbishment category.

Read more about this project on Dezeen or on our project page.

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