UCL East's new campus will change the relationship between city and university.

London Mayor grants UCL East outline planning permission

University College London (UCL) has been granted outline planning permission by London Mayor Sadiq Khan for its new campus in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

The decision enables UCL to go ahead with its biggest single expansion since it was founded 200 years ago. It follows a unanimous resolution late last year from the LLDC Planning Decisions Committee.

The Mayor said: “UCL East promises to build on the University’s reputation as a world-leading education and research institution and will sit at the heart of a new culture and education district in Stratford. As this new development takes shape it will cement London’s reputation as the best place in the world to study, work and visit.”

The LDA Design masterplan that informs this move builds on UCL’s progressive history, providing a new model for a university campus with cross-disciplinary research and teaching, and importantly, embedded within the local community. The masterplan roots the campus firmly in its Stratford setting, drawing in local people and visitors and supporting life-long learning. The proposals have been warmly welcomed by the local community.

Bernie Foulkes, Board Director and masterplanning lead at LDA Design, says that UCL has a pioneering vision: “The masterplan for UCL East is intended to transform the traditional relationship between city and university. Its ambition is to be inclusive and welcoming to everyone and to harness the power of the public realm to encourage collaboration and exchange.

“We think by creating this new kind of place, where buildings feel as inviting and accessible as external spaces, and where people can mix, then great things can happen for the University and for the local community.”

A transparent ‘Fluid Zone’ on the lower floors will be curated by the University to ignite public curiosity, for instance by showcasing research.

Strong connectivity with the area and the Park is key. The masterplan anticipates how people will use the site and distils a clear and simple idea about connecting people and place through landscape, with inviting ways and views through and across the campus, along sunny river banks. There is generous provision of flexible and diverse open spaces for events.

The expansion to east London will help to maintain UCL’s position as one of the world’s top 10 research-intensive universities. UCL East will add 40% to UCL’s central London site in Bloomsbury – around 180,000 square metres of new floor space. Professor Michael Arthur, UCL President & Provost, said the university was thrilled by this milestone: “The project is being directed by academics for the benefit of our intellectual community. We are a significant step closer to facilitating the pioneering, engaging and cross-disciplinary activity we have planned for the site, which has a strong focus on public access and engagement.”

UCL is part of a major regeneration development that aims to transform the area and bring educational, cultural and economic benefits to local communities. It will be located in the Cultural and Education District alongside institutions including the V&A, Sadler’s Wells and the London College of Fashion.

Sir Peter Hendy CBE, chair of LLDC, said: “This is a great step forward in creating one of the most innovative education hubs fit for the 21st century, right in the heart of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.”

Construction is due to start in 2019, with the first building Pool Street West, designed by Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, expected to be ready for September 2021. The second building, designed by Stanton Williams and currently known as Marshgate I, will have a phased opening, starting in September 2022.

Click here for an overview of LDA Design’s work on UCL East.

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