UCL - The Bartlett School of Architecture
- Original design
- Architects’ Co Partnership Incorporated, 1974
- HawkinsBrown, Buro Happold, 2016
We will be launching the 2021 programme at 12pm on 11 August 2021
This project is shortlisted in the Post-occupancy in Practice category of the inaugural Open City Stewardship Awards. Find out more: open-city.org.uk/stewardship-awards
Prior to its refurbishment, Wates House – a forbidding 1970s building – was anonymous on the outside, with a cramped interior. Its small rooms, locked doors, dark corridors, and lack of communal spaces in stark contrast with the
luminous quality of its academic output. The fact that the building also performed poorly, too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter and was expensive to run, ensured that it was top of the list of priorities when the University published its estate renewal strategy.
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 future retrofit of the 1970s building stock is possible, whilst retaining the embodied
energy and CO2 emissions. The project team worked very closely to minimise the whole life carbon impact of the project, from demolition through to construction and ultimately in operation. For example, it is estimated that retaining the original concrete frame not only saved money and build-time, but also 400 tonnes of CO2.
The building achieved an overall environmental rating of 'BREEAM Excellent' representing best practice in sustainable design and taking the building performance well beyond minimum standards for materials sourcing and responsible construction. In terms of passive design, the new facade provides significantly enhanced insulation with much improved air tightness minimising the amount of energy required for space heating. Coupled with good levels of daylight and healthy material choices, occupants are provided with healthy and productive teaching spaces.
To understand how the building performed in operation, an extensive Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) was conducted over a 2 year period. The POE covered a ‘technical’ and ‘functional’ evaluation, but also a ‘process’ evaluation
looking at how effectively the project was delivered. Compared to the old Wates House a 60% reduction in energy use per m2 was achieved, equivalent to a 33% reduction in absolute energy use. This is despite floor area increasing from 5260m2 to 8887m2 and greater environmental control now provided throughout many spaces in the building. Following the refurbishment, energy costs are circa £26,000/year (compared to ~£136,000/year previously) representing a significant financial saving for the University of approximately £110,000 per year.
Building on the findings of the project, Buro Happold worked collaboratively with UCL to develop their new Sustainable Building Standard setting ‘net zero’ requirements for all projects, as well as the new ‘Post Project Review’ guidelines setting the requirements for lessons learned workshopping and POE. The project has become a case study used as a fantastic learning opportunity, and the subject of several presentations to industry.
A 'deep retrofit' of Wates House was required, which would transform both the external appearance and internal functions of the building. Stripping back to the building's original core and expanding the space would create a new building - one that The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL could be proud of - and so 22 Gordon Street was born.
Externally, Hawkins\Brown fully re-clad the structure with a skin of textured waterstruck bricks. Key features of the elevations are highlighted with glass reinforced concrete details, whilst the window frames and reveals are lined in anodised aluminum and large entrance doors are clad in oak.
Overall, the palette is elegant and timeless and makes a positive contribution to this historic corner of Bloomsbury.
Internally, the fabric of the original building has been deliberately left exposed to make legible the transformation process to students and users of the building. The raw concrete of the existing structure is contrasted with new joinery to add tactility and warmth to the interior.
The ground floor is open and transparent to encourage public interaction. A new staircase and breakout spaces radically improve wayfinding and interaction throughout the entire building. The building now provides double the amount of teaching and research space available to the school, meaning that every student now has access to a desk.
Sustainability was a key project driver and the building has received a BREEAM excellent rating and includes a green roof and intelligent interfaces to allow users to control their environment.
The transformation of 22 Gordon Street would not have been possible without thinking strategically about the broader estate.
The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL will open a new digital fabrication and robotics space at Here East, London's home for making on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park during Autumn 2017.
UCL Estates working with The Bartlett School of Architecture
Structural Engineer (staircase):
Smith & Wallwork
Expedition Engineering Ltd
Clerk of Works:
John Burke Associates
Principal Design Advisor:
Turner & Townsend
Approved Building Inspector:
Start on site:
Gross internal floor area:
Form of contract or procurement route:
Single stage design and build
Construction cost per m2:
CAD software used:
Annual CO2 emissions:
12 kg/m2 building emission rate