Located north of Elephant and Castle, the four storey 1970s concrete-framed building is the largest academic building on LSBU’s main campus and provides approximately 20% of the University’s total teaching and learning space. The major makeover included the extensive internal reconfiguration of the existing sports and catering facilities and the refurbishment of seven retained lecture theatres, film studios and cinema space. The building also incorporates LSBU’s relocated library, the University archive, small group room spaces, high-tech teaching spaces, computer labs with quiet and silent study areas, as well as staff offices.
The existing structure was largely retained, saving between 45-50% on embodied carbon, and incorporates carbon fibre strengthening in areas where it needed further reinforcement. The unwelcoming brick façades has been replaced to create a more permeable frontage, improving visual connectivity between the interior space and exterior landscape. The existing walls have been opened up and feature large, glazed bays that offer inward views to the building and the activities taking place within. These windows are framed by large, vertically oriented, perforated metal fins that also provide solar shading. Lightweight, three-dimensional GRC cladding panels featuring a stylisation of LSBU’s “sail” emblem give the building a welcoming, civic quality. To the northern corner, the new façade is accented with a glazed lantern that acts as a beacon along the street.
WilkinsonEyre worked with structural engineer Eckersely O’Callaghan to design two main structural interventions which involved hanging new floors to infill the existing two outer lightwells. These new floors are supported from large steel beams that span at roof level and therefore required no new foundations or columns at the lower levels. As a result, two large double height spaces are created, one above the sports hall on the London Road side and another above the lecture theatres on the Keyworth Street side.
These interventions, with new linear roof lights and acoustic slatted plywood soffits at roof level above, allow for the library to be located to the upper two floors of the building with a variety of well-lit study spaces and deliver easy access to bookshelves and the University Archive. Further teaching breakout areas are provided on the lower library level which supplements the lecture theatres below, as well as two theatres and preview cinema space.