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The project created a flagship building for the newly formed college, establishing a bold new façade and entrance whilst internally providing a range of formal and break-out spaces that reflect the college’s new vision for teaching and learning.
The horseshoe plan transformed an existing courtyard into a bright and flexible atrium space, while a suite of state of the art teaching and breakout spaces were created in a refurbished block and new build wings.
The building was delivered in phases keeping the college in operation throughout the works and was part funded by allocating part of the site for housing.
Alan Williams Photography
Platform 5 Architects and Richard Hopkinson Architects have completed a £40 million campus redevelopment at Lewisham Southwark College.
The completion of a new 7,600 sq.m six storey teaching block represents the completion of a major construction programme that has rationalised Lewisham Southwark College’s estate. Through a combination of new build and refurbishment elements, Platform 5 Architects and Richard Hopkinson Architect have taken a holistic approach that delivers new education and training spaces and enhances the public realm around the college campus near Waterloo.
The design team worked with the new management of the college to create a home with a revitalised vision for teaching and learning. The brief was to create a self-funding project, maximise grant opportunities and deliver a new hub and image for the college. The project was therefore delivered in two phases based on a masterplan prepared by Richard and Peter that released sites for sale to create funding.
A first phase, completed in 2015, provides 2,047 sq.m of education floor space through a significant remodelling of a tired and outdated teaching block. Reflecting Lewisham Southwark College’s ambition to raise the quality bar for the benefit of the college community, this phase transformed an existing courtyard into a bright and flexible atrium space, and created a suite of state of the art teaching and breakout spaces in the refurbished block. Clad in ceramic tiles and accented with gold aluminium fins, the block creates an attractive local landmark that contrasts with its earlier drab appearance, and marks the entrance to the college more clearly.
The new block, fully opened in January 2017, is clad in white and transparent glass where it faces onto The Cut, offering a smart counterpoint to the earlier block and further lifting the public realm around Southwark underground station. Inside, a series of high quality education and training spaces have been provided, focusing on the media and creative industries. Dance studios at the top of the building are bright and flexible rehearsal and teaching facilities, with impressive views over the city. The new block also features a large roof garden, which is open to the whole college.
Both blocks open onto the atrium, which forms a transparent core at the heart of the college and has transformed wayfinding and circulation across the campus. This is a large, bright and welcoming space that can be used for teaching, as a venue for exhibitions and events, or as the focus for key college events such as enrolment and graduations. A key feature is a spiralling ribbon-like stair, which opens onto deep landings: flexible spaces for smaller class groups, breakout sessions or relaxation. The atrium roof is expressed as a series of faceted planes supported by tall tubular columns, alternating veneered panels with large roof lights. The roof is carefully designed to control solar gain, admit light and soften acoustics within the atrium, while the timber panels – alongside whitewashed timber reveals to the refurbished block – soften the appearance of atrium to enhance its welcoming character.
The redevelopment project means that all of Lewisham Southwark College’s facilities are under the same roof for the first time, following the establishment of the college in 2012. By offering modern teaching spaces in an environment with the look and feel of a modern workplace, the college hopes that the redevelopment will enhance its status as one of London’s leading education providers.
Both phases were carried out while the college was still in occupation.