City of Westminster College, UK
The new Campus for London’s City of Westminster College is conceived as a flagship to support new ways of teaching and learning.
The 24,000sqm College was the result of a competition won by architects Schmidt Hammer Lassen. It is designed to provide much greater amounts of open learning spaces than typical colleges in the UK and also offers state-of-the-art facilities for students and staff alike. In addition to integrated technology, the students’ development is supported by diverse architectural spaces which are adaptable and flexible.
The architects have designed a clean cut, very modern building which exhibits a distinct Scandinavia heritage. Its simple geometric forms and floors rotate around its large terraced atrium. This provides visual connections from one floor to the other making the atrium the dynamic hub at the heart of the College. On some floors, the large atrium extends to the facade which enhances the relationship between inside and outside, creating light-filled open and inclusive spaces which encourage interaction between students. To support connectivity with the local community, the public facilities such as exhibition area, theatre and cafe are all located near the main entrance.
Sound absorption was particularly important in the large leisure and sports facility and the workshops. The architects’ solution was to specify the installation of ceilings comprising Troldtekt acoustic tiles. For the College, their main benefits are high sound absorption, resistance to humidity, high durability, natural breathability and low cost life cycle performance. In addition, their sustainability has been recognised with certification at Silver level within the Cradle to Cradle concept.
The choice of colours for the building is inspired by its character and the change of seasons while the light timber panels lining the interior contrast with the exposed concrete surfaces, again underlining its Scandinavian design. The building is also designed to be sustainable and energy efficient with overall low maintenance, all of which reduces the building’s lifespan running cost and its carbon footprint.