The design shows a collaboration of contemporary and historic features with the university housed in a regenerated Granary Complex in a unique Grade II listed industrial complex. Stanton Williams say the design is a, ‘contemporary intervention’ that ‘responds to the raw beauty and industrial background of the Granary Complex’.
An international competition was launched in 2001 for the scheme which was originally set for the Holborn area of London but following considerations of flexibility and the design by Stanton Williams the developer, Argent were offered the opportunity in 2006 to develop the site in Camden.
The Central School of Arts & Craft’s first Principal WR Lethaby – an architect, designer and educationalist – asked that the original building at Southampton Row, opened in 1908, be “plain, reasonable and well built”. The building helped pioneer a new form of teaching where students learnt by using tools in a workshop environment. Stanton Williams were asked to provide a world-class facility of exceptional scale to create a highly visible identity for Central Saint Martins.
With respect for the ‘austere beauty of the existing Eastern Goods Yard Buildings, juxtaposing old with new and introducing a robust, contemporary palette of materials of high quality concrete, steel and glass,’ Stanton hope to ensure that the campus, ‘reflects its roots, while providing state of the art facilities for a new creative generation’.
The new campus will house studios and workshops; a lecture theatre and seminar facilities for up to 350 people; a museum and a gallery; flexible performance, rehearsal and exhibition spaces; a roof terrace; offices and even security checkpoints.
Flexible and adaptable new four storey studio buildings, performance spaces and a top lit internal north/south street will replace existing ‘Assembly Sheds’, transforming the space while respecting the scale and massing of the existing buildings, and roof lines. A new theatre space at the north of the site with its own entrance will be created with concrete and steel to create a contrasting composition between the existing historic transit sheds. To add light to the campus previously bricked up windows and arches will be re-opened and new archways added. Original cast-iron beams will be retained and will frame the entrances.
The campus will cover a site of 39,000 sq m. Construction will begin shortly and is due for completion in 2010.
Niki May Young