A unique panel of academics and architects discussed the key ingredients for developing a 21st century university campus in London.
The thought-provoking panel debate brought together architects from Allies and Morrison with Imperial academics to explore the importance of architecture for a research-intensive university.
It formed part of this year’s London Festival of Architecture, the world’s largest annual architecture festival, which returned to the capital this month with a diverse programme of public events.
Speaking to an online audience of over 100 attendees, Professor Neil Alford explained how the White City Campus masterplan is designed to enable flexible buildings and facilities which can co-locate businesses, academia and the local community to support collaboration, innovation, and the sharing of ideas.
Buildings and public spaces have been designed to integrate with the surrounding locality, with the aim of creating attractive, accessible and welcoming focal points which can bring people together.
A research agenda advancing care
Each year the festival takes a different theme to celebrate London as a global hub for architecture. Following the pandemic, the focus this year was on ‘care’, and the importance of finding ways to reconnect with each other, to build care and empathy.
The panel explored the types of research facilities required for a university pursuing a research agenda advancing care, with a particular focus on Imperial’s new School of Public Health.
The new multi-disciplinary facility reached an exciting milestone in April as ground was broken and construction began. An academic design team from Imperial worked closely with Allies and Morrison to oversee the design plans for the new building. Membership of this group included Professor Deborah Ashby, Professor Helen Ward, Professor Majid Ezzati and Matthias Heger from Imperial’s School of Public Health.
Speaking at the event, Imperial’s Professor Deborah Ashby said: “Our new School of Public Health at White City will provide collaborative, flexible, and interactive spaces for academics, collaborators, students and the local community. We are at an exciting stage in the project and I’m looking forward to seeing our vision come to life”.
Masterplanning White City Campus
The panel debate also explored other exciting buildings and spaces at White City designed by Allies and Morrison, as Imperial’s masterplan architects.
Design plans for both the Sir Michael Uren Hub, a flagship biomedical engineering research facility, and The Inventions Rooms, a pioneering community engagement hub and makerspace, were made possible through close collaboration between academics and architects.
Paul Eaton, Partner at Allies and Morrison, said: "It remains a pleasure, and an ongoing education, to work alongside Imperial College on building and masterplanning projects. Imperial's reputation for excellence is matched by a dedication to creating buildings and spaces that are not only flexible and fit for purpose, but also designed to support the communal life of the college and its collaborators - essential ingredients in the architecture of science."
Watch the virtual event here.
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