Vandersanden

Queen Mary University of London, University with allure

One of these new, recently-completed facilities is the Queen Mary University of London, Graduate Centre. The building was designed by architects Wilkinson Eyre and houses the central administration for the Doctoral College, special study rooms and spaces for postgraduate students, as well as a café, a Harvard-style lecture theatre and an events space.

“There has been a real increase in postgraduate programmes," Professor Morag Schiach explains. "We also have a large number of PhD students. We wanted to provide them with a separate building with a different feel, meeting the expectations of people who are going onto a more professionalised world."

Stacked volumes

The result is a horizontal building 80 metres long, seven storeys high, featuring two glazed bands at the top and bottom housing study spaces. Sandwiched between these are three floors of academic offices. The huge area - 7700 m² - has been carefully broken down as five stacked volumes that shift back and forth from the building line. "Because this building is backed up against other buildings, it couldn't have a deep plan," explains architect Stafford Critchlow. "It had to work more in one direction, with wider depth for the lecture theatre, whilst the boomerang shape followed the contour of the buildings behind."

Joint-free facing bricks

The architect chose our Zero® facing bricks to emphasise the horizontal and fit into the adjacent buildings. He had only previously seen this joint-free design in Belgium. Although the building is surrounded by brick buildings, the three tones used fit harmoniously into the surroundings. Combined with the glazed bands, the building has a delicate and soft appearance despite its size.

Wilkinson Eyre's addition to Queen Mary University is beautiful, innovative architecture with a playful side. With all the competition from neighbouring universities, it's one you'd be happy to attend.

Project details

Project: Queen Mary University of London, Graduate Centre (UK)
Architect: Wilkinson Eyre, London (UK)
Facing bricks: Platina Zero, Crème Zero, Leto Zero and Quartis Zero
Area: 7700 m²

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