Raw talent at Central Saint Martins

Monday 12 Mar 2012

Industrial past of London site influences new home of renowned artistic institution

To the north of King's Cross and St Pancras International railway stations, 67-acres of derelict land are being transformed in what is one of Europe's largest urban regeneration projects. The result will be a vibrant mixed-use quarter, at the physical and creative heart of which will be the new University of the Arts London campus, home of Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design.

Stanton Williams' design for the £200m new campus unites the college's activities under one roof for the first time. Completed in August 2011, the new 40,000 sq m campus for 4,000 students and 1,000 staff provides Central Saint Martins with a substantial new building, connected at its southern end to the Granary Building, a rugged survivor of the area's industrial past. A key requirement of the client throughout the project was for a high quality, distinctive, forward-looking design that is highly flexible and adaptable to future needs.

The design combines the 19th century Grade II listed Granary building and transit sheds with a 200m-long new building that uses industrial materials and creates robust spaces for the students, full of natural light. An internal street draws daylight in and acts as a central circulation spine with suspended walkways, cafes and surfaces for projections. The spaces are designed to be flexible and ‘raw', to allow the different departments within the college to develop their own identities, whilst maintaining the integrity of the buildings as a whole.

The street acts as a creative heart for the building, bringing together students from different courses to exchange ideas. Our design draws inspiration from the ambition and scale of its Victorian architectural setting and introduces a strong contemporary intervention that celebrates the juxtaposition of old and new in its detailing. Materials were carefully chosen to be appropriate to the
listed industrial context: Sensitive consideration lead to the use of fair faced concrete, robust metal panels and industrial cast glass.

Great importance has been placed on ensuring the new campus embodies best practice in sustainable design, overcoming the constraints of a listed industrial structure and ensuring the building design allows maximum scope for adaptation. This sustainable design strategy allowed us to work towards a BREEAM rating of ‘very good'.

Designed to provide an unparalleled inspirational and creative space for the university and its students, the new campus includes performance spaces with two theatres and dance studios, bar and ticketing area together with exhibition areas and a roof terrace. The result is a state-of-the-art facility that not only functions as a practical, sustainable solution to the college's needs but also aims to stimulate creativity, dialogue and student collaboration.

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United Kingdom

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