London & South East

LSE transforms the student experience

The London School of Economics and Political Science is constructing an impressive seven storey student centre which is scheduled for completion in late 2013.

With the Saw Swee Hock Student Centre, LSE is seeking to transform the student social experience by creating the best student centre in the UK.

The centre will house a vast array of top-of-the-range student and staff facilities. The impressive basement houses a large events space which is dynamic in its design as it functions during the daytime as a place for students to gather, have cinema, lectures, indoor street fairs, and it is also a gig venue/night club. The ground floor will be the new home of the LSE’s Three Tuns Pub.

The adaptive space is also a mezzanine level, which has a seating area, views over the venue space, food counter and a DJ Booth at night offers a relaxing study area in the day. The first floor contains a lofty cafe which offers views of the surrounding area, as well as an activity centre for students, clubs and societies.

Each floor of the centre is spilt into numerous sections in a bid to accommodate the large population of students which totals 9000.

The second floor is home to the university’s faith centre which provides space for those wanting privacy. The centre is an undisturbed, silent area designed for use by LSE faith societies. The floor also contains the media centre which is home to LSE’s student newspaper the Beaver, the academic journal Clare Market Review and PuLSE radio and LooSE tV studios.

On the next level students can find the Student’s Union which has been positioned in the middle of the building to act as the operational hub. Very much the official area of the centre the third floor also contains the Residences’ Accommodation and Sales Office alongside the SU Advice and Representation Centre.

For students wanting to keep fit the gym is located on the fourth level and provides a bright, fresh, lively environment for those burning off calories ahead of a big night out. The exercise studio, Careers Centre and Student Union meeting space can be found in the fifth and sixth levels.

Progress on the site is developing steadily and the completion of the roof was seen as a landmark for the project. The event was celebrated by a topping out ceremony in April 2013.

The ceremony originated in Persia and traditionally marked the reaching of the highest point of the building and ensured no evil spirits lingered inside the building. In the case of Saw Swee Hock Student Centre the ceremony was simply a celebration of the continued development of the building and a wish for the projects safe completion.

O’Donnell & Tuomey Architects designed the project and are pleased with the way the centre is developing. John Tuomey said:

“The New Student Centre provides dynamic space with overlapping adjacencies between many student activities, a lively building with an open welcoming atmosphere.

“We have worked closely with the students and staff to develop a site-specific architectural design, tailored to the particular characteristics of the LSE brief and maximizing the 3-dimensional potential of the urban situation.

“This radical design concept will be carefully built using craft based construction techniques.”

Osbourne, a family-owned construction, civil engineering and property services business, also worked on the LSE student centre project. They were in charge of the construction work on site and are experienced in the industry having had years of experience building and maintain homes, amenities, and infrastructure on a daily basis.

They have worked on numerous high profile projects including Gatwick South Terminal Footbridge Refurbishments, Victoria Park, Northey Gravel Bridge and Wash Road Bridge replacement. Osborne recently won a Silver medal in the 2013 Considerate Constructors Scheme National Site Awards for the Saw Swee Hock Student Centre site. Only the top 10 percent of sites in the country are invited to the awards ceremony. This year some twenty sites were awarded bronze, around six were awarded silver, and two received gold.  

DRH specialise in the preparation & application of protective coatings to steelwork structures of all designs. Working on the Saw Swee Hock Student Centre, DRH was responsible for the application of In tumescent Coatings to a high decorative finish.

Commenting on the project, Gary Deeks, Managing Director of DRH Coatings Limited, said:

“It was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate our abilities to produce quality work in a restricted environment.”

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Roma Publications

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