King’s College London, Quadrangle Building

London, United Kingdom

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A Fusion of History and Innovation

King’s College London’s historic Strand Campus required additional academic space to meet diverse teaching, learning, and research needs. The 21st Century Engineering Quadrangle Project emerged to create new teaching facilities while preserving architectural heritage. Four distinct buildings enclose the courtyard, each contributing to the site’s unique character. Somerset House’s 18th-century east wing, designed by William Chambers, joined the college in 2010. Facing it stands Robert Smirke’s King’s Building, the university’s original home. A segment of Somerset House overlooks the River Thames to the south, connecting the campus to the historic waterfront. To the north, on the bustling Strand, a 1972 brutalist addition represents a different era of architecture.

Our engineering team played a pivotal role by providing mechanical and electrical engineering services for this subterranean transformation of the Quadrangle into engineering research laboratories and teaching spaces. Balancing modern academic needs with historical significance was a challenge.

Building for Flexibility

Client considerations emphasised flexibility and adaptability—the new facility needed to accommodate a wide range of practical activities, both current and future. Creating high-quality, adaptable academic spaces was the goal.

Operating in an Active Campus

Operating within an active campus required phased construction and close stakeholder coordination. Acoustic testing and impact assessments minimised disruptions during construction. We also focused on low-maintenance, low-noise solutions and adapted to the constraints posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The King’s College London Quadrangle project is a testament to the fusion of modern engineering excellence with historical preservation. It showcases the commitment to innovation and sustainability in higher education amidst a backdrop of architectural heritage.

Key Features:

  • Redevelopment of the central Quadrangle and its subterranean academic spaces.
  • Sustainable design achieving a SKA Gold rating.
  • Low maintenance, low noise solutions with integrated chilled beams and specialist lighting.
  • The development adds almost 3,000 square meters over two floors, providing a new teaching home for King’s Department of Engineering.

Awards:

  • Building Magazine Awards 2023, Retrofit/Refurbishment Project of the Year category (winner).
  • Architectural Heritage Intervention (AHI) European Awards 2023, Built Heritage category (shortlisted).
  • Architects’ Journal Retrofit Awards 2023, Higher Education and Campus Award and the Listed Building £5m and Over Awards (shortlisted).

Client: King’s College London

Services:

  • MEP Engineering
  • Acoustics
  • Energy and Sustainability