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Architecture

Penoyre & Prasad’s angular addition to Birkbeck campus completes

By 23/08/2021No Comments

A new new teaching and learning centre for Birkbeck, University of London designed by Penoyre & Prasad has completed in Bloomsbury.

The project is a refurbishment and rooftop extension of an existing 1920s building on Euston Road, near to the main Malet Street campus.

It contains a 180-seat lecture theatre, classrooms and informal co-learning spaces.

Its most striking element is an angular copper-coloured roof extension that cantilevers over the street.

P_P_Project_Birkbeck External 4

At night the building is lit up to showcase the activity within and highlight the significance of Birkbeck as the UK’s only evening university.

Mark Rowe, principal at Penoyre & Prasad which is now part of Perkins & Will, said a key part of the brief was to enhance the original 1920s block. This is particularly significant as the building sits in a sensitive heritage context, diagonally opposite Sir John Soane’s grade I-listed Holy Trinity Church, and close to Euston Road’s significant landmark buildings.

P_P_Project_Birkbeck External 5

Rowe said: “Our aim for this project was to breathe new life into the existing building and give Birkbeck a dynamic presence in a prominent location. 

“The timber-formed, copper-clad, twisted lecture theatre protrudes from above the building, creating a striking moment that can be recognised from afar, while providing the much-needed teaching spaces. Views into the basement through ample glazed shop windows capture the curiosity of passers-by, creating an engaging space for the public and building users.”

The seven-storey building includes a cafe that is open to the public and a learning hub for students on the ground floor and basement.

Teaching and learning spaces fill the upper floors, with the 180-person lecture theatre and a 25-person classroom occupying the rooftop extension.

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