Google+ London Architecture Blog: Week 35 13 Feature #28 London Metropolitan University Graduate Centre

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Week 35 13 Feature #28 London Metropolitan University Graduate Centre

London Metropolitan University Graduate Centre
Project Team: Studio Daniel LibeskindLondon Metropolitan University (Client), Cadogan Tietz (Structural Engineer), Costain (Contractor)
Date Completed: 2004
Location:  166-220 Holloway Road, London N7 8DB

The Graduate Centre for London Metropolitan University was designed by Studio Daniel Libeskind and was completed in 2004. The building acts as a gateway to the university complex and hosts a range of events throughout the year and contains teaching facilities such as a lecture theatre, seminar rooms, social space and IT facilities. 

The Graduate Centre is the third building designed by Daniel Libeskind in the UK (after the 2001 temporary Serpentine Pavilion and the 2003 Imperial War Museum North, Manchester). The design of the building has linked on the principles of deconstructivism, an experiemental movement which began in the 1980s, where the design of the building, through the form, structure and skin are fragmented and distorted away from their conventional principles. 

The design contrasts greatly with the surrounding buildings, being sandwiched between the 1960s concrete tower to the north and the Clock Tower building (1896) of the former Northern Polytechnic Institute to the south. The layout of the building designed to respond to its context through positioning, volumes and access to and from the adjacent university buildings. Libeskind describes

The three intersecting elements that form the building strategically emphasize certain relationships: one creates a connection between the public, the new building and the university behind, one form gestures from the university toward the tube connection to the city and one more regular form stitches the new building into the context of Holloway Road. A small plaza at the entrance provides an accent and an engaging gateway.

The building is constructed from in-situ reinforced concrete, exposed on the interior and clad in triangular embossed stainless steel panels on the elevation to Holloway Road. A large window wraps around the corner of the building above the main entrance and provides light to the lobby and social space on the first floor. Further windows are positioned along the main elevation and follow the angles and form of the building and introduce light into the main interior spaces.

Connecting the ground and first floor levels is a large open staircase, with exposed concrete on either side, lit by a diagonal window and ceiling lights mounted in diagonal strips running across the surface. Here the ceiling, walls and plan all break away from conventional forms and leave only the stairs as a horizontal plane. At both ends of the stairs are lobby spaces, for the entrance on the ground floor, and for a social, linking space on the first floor.

The building has won many awards including the RIBA Award 2004, and the Building of the Year Award by Jeu d'esprit in 2005.

Thank you to the press office of London Metropolitan University for allowing me to photograph the interior of the Graduate Centre.

See also;

London Metropolitan University CASS School of Architecture Summer Show 2013

Studio Daniel Libeskind design for an extension to the V&A Museum.

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