UCL 22 Gordon Street
(The Bartlett School of Architecture)

London, UK

The £22 million refurbishment and extension to University College London’s (UCL) 22 Gordon Street (formally known as Wates House) provides a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ building for the prestigious Bartlett School of Architecture.

Forming part of the wider scheme to improve a number of UCL’s academic buildings, the project provides accommodation for student studios, offices, teaching and seminar rooms, machinery workshops, computer labs and exhibition spaces.


Buro Happold needed to work closely with the architect, client, students and teaching staff to breathe new life into a building that had become tired and outdated. With student numbers growing, the school needed to increase its teaching space, as well as replace the aging MEP systems. This meant the existing 1970’s building needed to be retrofitted and extended, retaining the existing structure while providing a new, enhanced environment with highly efficient systems.


Our team incorporated a building services design that provides a flexible, low energy and comfortable environment for occupants. Heating and cooling is provided by a district wide strategy integrating active chilled beams, free cooling chillers and twin wheel heat recovery air handling units, while LED lighting provides energy efficient lighting. Systems have been designed to reflect UCL’s long-term sustainability targets, while ensuring flexibility and low maintenance.

Image: Richard Stonehouse

A significant challenge for the team was to increase the teaching and communal spaces without having a negative impact on the surrounding Bloomsbury Conservation Area, which included several listed buildings. A key part of our role was to collaborate closely with the local planning authority, design and conservation offices to ensure the work was carried out sensitively. The eventual design saw space increased on each floor and two storeys added to the top levels of the building, resulting in 120% more usable floor space within the existing site footprint.

The complete refurbishment provides a fitting new home for the world renowned Bartlett School of Architecture

Andy Keelin, Partner at Buro Happold
Inspiring spaces at therevamped 22 Gordon Street. Image: Richard Stonehouse


Buro Happold’s work on 22 Gordon Street has contributed to the transformation of an important academic centre. Providing a reinvented home for the Bartlett School of Architecture, the new building reflects the quality of the academic work taking place within its walls.

We particularly value Buro Happold’s collaborative attitude, which reflects our own belief in architecture and construction being a collective process to which all parties must fully commit to achieve the best possible results. The additional consultancy services offered by Buro Happold also add extra value for clients and design teams alike, helping to make the design process as seamless and integrated as possible

Euan Macdonald, Partner at Hawkins\Brown
university building refurbishment

On completion of the main retrofit project, Buro Happold went on to lead a two year post occupancy evaluation (PoE). Investigating energy performance, user satisfaction and lessons learned as well as supervising two MSc students reviewing the building’s air quality and thermal comfort. Key findings from the PoE included; a 60% reduction in energy use per m² and 33% reduction in overall. In terms of user feedback, the ‘design’ of the building has been highly praised by its users.

Located in a busy, built up area straddling two different sub areas of the Bloomsbury Conservation Area. Image: Jack Hobhouse



CIBSE Building Performance Project of the Year – Retrofit, Winner


RIBA Regional Award, London, Winner


New London Awards, Education Category, Winner


AJ Retrofit Awards, Winner

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