AWW is pleased to announce the official opening of University Square Stratford by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Chancellor of the University of London today.
University Square, situated at the heart of Stratford’s cultural quarter, is a unique collaboration between the University of East London and Birkbeck, University of London; two distinct universities whose partnership aims are to encourage access and progression into higher education. The campus offers an alternative model of higher education, with flexible part- and full-time, day and evening study opportunities to meet the growing aspirations of the people of east London.
Professor John Joughin, UEL Vice-Chancellor, said: “It is great to see this partnership initiative come to completion and the first cohort of students come through the doors this autumn. University Square brings higher education into the communities of east London in a way that has never been done before and plays an important role in the remarkable transformation of this part of London.”
The Master of Birkbeck, Professor David Latchman CBE, said: “University Square is an exciting development in Birkbeck’s historic mission to extend the best higher education to all, and I am delighted to see our unique, evening taught provision established in east London. The shared nature of the building means that students in Stratford will benefit from a truly flexible, high-quality higher education offering.”
Designed by Make architects and built by contractor VolkerFitzpatrick in association with AWW architects, the £33 million state-of-the-art, five-floor campus comprises 8,600 sq metres of flexible teaching and performance space, as well as academic and administrative offices, orientated around a large, light-filled atrium. A range of student support services are on offer, including English language and academic learning support, specialist education advice and guidance, disability support and a student centre and helpdesk.
The building is a prime example of the latest technology and sustainable building design. Its features include more than 700 square metres of solar panels, rooftop habitats to increase biodiversity, three rooftop bat boxes, rainwater harvesting, and a garden at ground level. The Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) rating is excellent – the second highest category.
James Taylor, Partner at Make, said: “The architecture is an expression of what the project has achieved – the bringing together of a whole host of different spaces, departments and functions that serve two universities in one coherent building. The expressive form, granite external facades and concrete internal finishes work together to create a new landmark with a confident presence and a civic scale. The building will attract new students and give them an institution in which they can be proud of its quality and longevity.”
Charles Jordan, Associate and Architect at AWW inspired environments, said: “The collaboration at USS has resulted in a remarkable building and its aspirations have been exceeded on this challenging site. The bold design and high technical standards embodied in its construction will be an inspiration to all who use it. AWW is extremely proud to have been selected to work alongside VolkerFitzpatrick to deliver this unique project and to be part of the continued renaissance of Stratford.”
Anthony Clarke, senior project manager at VolkerFitzpatrick, said: “Having lived and breathed the project for over two years, it’s fantastic to finally see the facility in use. A huge amount of effort has gone into the project by the entire project team to finally cement the new and modern facility in the heart of east London. Construction took place through the Olympics with great success and created minimal impact to local businesses due to careful planning and local liaison.”