Architects appointed for One Campus project

Award-winning practice Design Engine to help transform London Met’s Holloway campus.
Date: 11 January 2016

above: an example of Design Engine's work on the John Henry Brookes building at Oxford Brookes University

London Metropolitan University has appointed an architecture practice to help bring its £125 million One Campus, One Community vision into reality.

The award-winning Design Engine Architects, who have previously worked for institutions such as the University of Oxford and Arts University Bournemouth, will be tasked with developing a masterplan to help create a modern campus to accommodate all of London Met’s curriculum in Islington.

In October, the University announced plans to invest £125m to create a showpiece campus in Holloway, bringing all of its faculties together for the first time in its history. This includes creating a new home for the prestigious Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design and the Guildhall Faculty of Business and Law.

Design Engine were appointed after a competitive procurement process in which several practices pitched for the work. Each practice was assessed against a set criteria by members of the marking panel, which consisted of Paul Bowler, Deputy Chief Executive; Pam Nelson, Director of Finance; Caroline Jackson, Director of Estates; Bill Hunt, Head of Estates Development and Iain Franklin, Programme Manager.  

A key part of the brief for the project was to undertake extensive consultation with students and staff to ensure a collaborative approach to the design of the new campus. A major programme of consultation will therefore now begin.  

Professor John Raftery, Vice Chancellor of London Met, said: “I am delighted that Design Engine are on board with us to help create an inspirational and vibrant Islington campus which will secure our future as a university. Design Engine have done amazing work for other universities across the country, and I am excited about what we will achieve together in Islington.”

Design Engine have a strong track-record of success in transforming university campuses, having worked on projects for London School of Economics, University of Southampton, Oxford Brookes, University of Winchester, and Arts University Bournemouth.

“The practice is hugely excited to be involved in developing a new masterplan strategy for London Met,” said John Ridgett, Director of Design Engine. “The creation of inspiring and engaging learning environments is at the heart of what the practice does. The practice is particularly passionate about the University's access mission and strong record of making higher education available to all members of society.

“As a practice we seek to develop spaces and places, which are not only beautiful but functional and which derive from thoughtful consultation with staff and students. The higher education landscape in particular requires imaginative thinking in creating new teaching and learning environments and blurring the edges between academic and social space.  

“The project provides the opportunity to create a new heart at the centre of London Met and a new face to the wider Islington community.”

In 2014, Design Engine’s John Henry Brookes Building for Oxford Brookes University (pictured) won a RIBA National Award and reached the midlist of the Stirling Prize. The practice was the RIBA South Practice of the Year and reached the shortlist for Education Architect of the Year.

A major consultation programme will now commence to ensure students and staff have the opportunity to shape the new campus.

Caroline Jackson, Director of Estates, said: “This is an enormous opportunity to repurpose the estate to meet future needs and realise all the benefits of being one community.  We will look at how the estate can be used to promote the vision of what we and future students want our University to be.”