img(height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=2939831959404383&ev=PageView&noscript=1")

LSE rises to the challenge of city's ancient streets

Architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners' Centre Building brings social spaces and open squares to a university campus patched together from a 'morphology of crookedness'

In association with
The massing of the new building consists of two deceptively simple and infinitely flexible steel-framed blocks joined by dynamic circulation and meeting spaces.
The massing of the new building consists of two deceptively simple and infinitely flexible steel-framed blocks joined by dynamic circulation and meeting spaces.

Into the London School of Economics, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners has inserted a shared space designed to lure students and staff out of their rooms.

A square. We all like squares, orderly places of public enjoyment, signs of civilised city-building, agents of urban harmony across the centuries. Architects especially like squares because they are both conspicuous symbols of a commitment to the public good and geometric figures. Architects like to do good and be seen to do good. Geometry is a tool of their trade. A square neatly wraps symbol and instrument up in one word and four lines.

QIC Trims worked extensively with the main contractor and specialist interior fit out contractor BDL to solve the complex solution of integrating perimeter details to house lighting and a specialist stretch ceiling over numerous floors and open space areas. The result on site in a vibrant red perfectly fits with the stylish modern decor.

The LSE, unusually among institutions of higher education, has had, until now, no squares. No quads, no courts either. It occupies instead a dense tissue of narrow streets squeezed between the semi-circle of the Aldwych, the rectangle of Lincoln’s Inn Fields and the ramrod of Kingsway. As all available regular shapes have been used up by its neighbours, this world-famous seat of learning has patched its campus together from a morphology of crookedness, grown from spores seemingly scattered by a wonky 16th-century cottage in its midst on whose front large gothic letters wrongly proclaim it to have been the Old Curiosity Shop that inspired Charles Dickens.

  • QIC Trims' specialist fabricated perimeter detail was used throughout the open-plan staircases at the LSE Centre Building, giving a sense of space.
    QIC Trims' specialist fabricated perimeter detail was used throughout the open-plan staircases at the LSE Centre Building, giving a sense of space.
  • The building is carefully stitched into the existing campus layout, the street pattern of which retains the dense historic grain of the city.
    The building is carefully stitched into the existing campus layout, the street pattern of which retains the dense historic grain of the city.
  • QIC Trims' perimeter detail was used to support the specialist stretch ceiling and lighting.
    QIC Trims' perimeter detail was used to support the specialist stretch ceiling and lighting.
  • QIC Trims can powder products to any RAL colour, using Red in the LSE building to great effect.
    QIC Trims can powder products to any RAL colour, using Red in the LSE building to great effect.
1234

Into this moderate disorder, RSHP architects Ivan Harbour, Tracy Meller and Andrew Morris have inserted two linked steel-framed blocks, one six storeys and the other 12, regular and mostly right-angled. Centre Building, as the project is called, contains lecture theatres, academic offices, meeting rooms and places to lure students to the campus away from their electronically connected bedrooms. Its stated aims are flexibility and communication, the breaking down of the silos into which academic life tends to sort itself.

Its success would partly be a function of the intensity of the campus: make a space and it will fill with life. It’s also to do with the design of the building, the ways in which it celebrates upward movement and keeps returning views back towards its surroundings. Shared space becomes three-dimensional, multilayered and dynamic. It is reciprocal between inside and out and between older buildings and new. Centre Building won’t make the same impression on the history books as the Pompidou Centre, but it taps its ancient energy, as if of some past cosmic explosion, to positive and thoughtful effect.

For more information and technical support, visit qic-trims.com

 

Contact:

07469 084960

neil@qic-trims.com


 

Latest

The Design Museum exhibition of machine powered music, its places and culture reveals the significance of the movement in all its glory

Nostalgia or rebellion? Electronic music’s continuing relevance

The nature of industry in the city has made conversion for modern use difficult, but historic buildings are key to unlocking development and new architecture says council design manager Andrew Fuller

Council design manager Andrew Fuller explains the approaches the city wants from architects and designers

It's all about championing heritage, not owning it, says the conservation body as it teams up with local groups for major preservation in city, alongside its latest Moseley Road Baths project

Heritage partnerships are great news in city where too much has been lost

Innovation centre Kamp C took just three weeks to print the envelope for a two storey house using Cobod’s giant 3D printer

No prefabrication needed for 3D-printed two-storey house

Manufacturer Vandersanden UK's online seminars continue with a focus on brick production and the different formats available to architects and specifiers

Vandersanden UK online seminar assesses what the clay block offers architects