WilkinsonEyre has radically transformed London South Bank University’s (LSBU) London Road building, as part of a wider regeneration of St George’s Quarter, to create an open and inviting centrepiece for its main Southwark campus. Conceived as an inclusive hub for the University, the extensive refurbishment and redesign brings together a library, lecture theatres, fitness facilities, teaching rooms, informal learning spaces, and catering amenities to support students and staff, as well providing services for the local community.

Located north of Elephant and Castle, the existing 1970s concrete-framed building was/is the largest academic building on LSBU’s main campus, providing approximately 20% of the University’s total teaching and learning space. An initial feasibility study undertaken by the practice in 2018 identified the negative impact of the blank external façades, warren-like interiors, and poor accessibility provisions were having upon the building’s users.

WilkinsonEyre_LSBU Hub_N190_© Edmund Sumner
WilkinsonEyre LSBU Hub © Edmund Sumner

The university identified the need to allow the building to work in a communal, cooperative, and collaborative way while retaining the key large volumes of the building on the constricted site. Through adaptive re-use, WilkinsonEyre has resolved these issues, opening up the 20,466m2 space to improve and enhance user experience while future-proofing the building for years to come. The building has achieved BREEAM Very Good Rating.

The major makeover includes the extensive internal reconfiguration of the existing sports and catering facilities and the refurbishment of seven retained lecture theatres, film studios and cinema space. The building also incorporates LSBU’s relocated library, the University archive, small group room spaces, high-tech teaching spaces, computer labs with quiet and silent study areas, as well as staff offices.

WilkinsonEyre_LSBU Hub_N162_© Edmund Sumner
WilkinsonEyre_LSBU Hub © Edmund Sumner

The existing structure was largely retained, saving 65% on embodied carbon which is just under half of the 2030 RIBA benchmark targets, and incorporates carbon fibre strengthening in areas where it needed further reinforcement.

To the south-east of the development, an existing car park has been converted into a planted amenity space to invite users into the new building entrance, and provides a safe and accessible through-route between the busy London Road and main teaching building on Keyworth Street.

Nat Keast, Associate of WilkinsonEyre, said: “Our design for the LSBU Hub demonstrates how a building that was having such a negative impact on the campus can be totally transformed to meet 21st century standards, extending its design life significantly while minimising the building’s embodied carbon. We hope that the students and local community will enjoy this revitalised building for years to come.“

The building will open to students at the start of the 2022-23 academic year. More info here

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