City of Westminster College
© schmidt hammer lassen architects

The new City of Westminster College embraces diversity

Schmidt Hammer Lassen architects as Architects

The new flagship Campus for City of Westminster College by schmidt hammer lassen architects is designed to support new ways of teaching and learning. The 24,000m2 College, won in a competition in 2006, provides much greater amounts of open learning spaces than typical colleges in the UK and holds state-of-the-art facilities for both students and staff. The building is designed to embrace interaction and diversity and allow students to learn from each other, both formally and informally. “The learning spaces of City of Westminster College are adaptable and flexible so that, in addition to the integrated technology, the students’ development is supported by the diverse architectural spaces of the very building they are in. It is a design which encourages new ways of teaching and learning,” says Founding Partner of schmidt hammer lassen architects, Mr Morten Schmidt. The College is located in the heart of Central London at Paddington Green on the site of its previous building, an inefficient and failing 1960s block. The building has been designed from the inside-out, responding to the needs of the diverse groups who use the College, as well as taking into account the sensitive local context. It appears as a clean-cut, modern building with a distinct Scandinavian heritage. The building’s simple geometric forms rotate around a terraced atrium, creating a unifying yet flexible organisation. “The respective floor plans surrounding the atrium have visual connections from one floor to the other, making the atrium a dynamic centre and the heart of the College,” says Partner at schmidt hammer lassen architects Mr Kim Holst Jensen, and he continues: “The large atrium, which on some floors extends all the way to the façade, enhances the relationship between the inside and the outside. It offers light-filled, open and inclusive spaces which encourage the interaction between students.” To support connectivity with the local community, most public functions – including an exhibition area, a theatre and a café – are located adjacent to the main entrance before the security turnstiles. The choice of colours for the building is inspired by its context and by the change of the seasons, whilst the light timber panels lining the interior form a contrast to the exposed concrete surfaces and underline the Scandinavian design heritage. The building is designed to be sustainable and energy efficient and the overall scheme will have a low maintenance liability, significantly reducing the building’s lifespan costs and carbon footprint. College Principal Keith Cowell says: “We wanted to create a new Campus with an open and inclusive atmosphere – a space that would match the needs of our diverse group of students. We're delighted with the outcome, and proud to be able to welcome people to such a contemporary and inspiring learning environment." The new City of Westminster College which opened to students on the 10th January 2011 is the first completed building by schmidt hammer lassen architects in the UK, soon to be followed by The Learning Zone – Library and Learning Centre in Sheffield and the University of Aberdeen New Library in Scotland both to be completed in 2011.


New City of Westminster College Campus

Arper SPA as Manufacturers

A new Campus for the City of Westminster College, located in the heart of Central London: 24,000m2 of open learning spaces, adaptable and flexible to match the needs of diverse group of students and support new ways of teaching and learning. Schmidt Hammer Lassen architects won the award to design the campus building back in 2006 and recently completed it in 2010. The Campus is designed to embrace interaction and diversity and allow students to learn from each other in an inclusive atmosphere. It’s simple geometric forms develops around a large terraced atrium, making it a dynamic centre and the heart of the College while creating a unifying yet flexible organisation, where thre's a space for every activity, such as resting in the terraced atrium on a colorful Catifa 80 lounge chair, studying together around a Nuur table in the library or gathering at the roof of the building sitting on a Catifa 46 chair while enjoying a spectacular views of the city! The building is projected to be sustainable and energy efficient , power use, significantly reducing building's lifespan costs and carbon footprint, and minimizing impact on the local environment.


CITY OF WESTMINSTER COLLEGE

Troldtekt A/S as Manufacturers

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.


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