UCL Student Centre London library building architecture design interior view
Kirsten Holst , UCL Library Services, University College London
Library Details
Basic Information
University library
Year of opening
Total Cost
74,500,000 EUR
University / Institution
University College London
27-28 Gordon Square
WC1H 0AW London
United Kingdom
Project Story
Main Motications and Objectives

The UCL Student Centre was designed from the ground up with student needs and the student experience at its heart. It provides practical support with a new Student Enquiries Centre and 1,000 new study spaces, radically improving the campus experience.

The sustainably-designed and built new Student Centre is a focal point for study, events and student life – an essential space to think, explore, collaborate, discover and challenge.
The entire building is dedicated to UCL students and staff, apart from the ground floor spaces in the public atrium area.

The building sets the highest standards in quality of learning spaces, with areas specifically tailored for research, collaboration and peer learning – so students can concentrate on independent study or collaborative learning in the way that works best for them.

The new study spaces are a transformative addition to the campus that dramatically improve the student experience at UCL. They increase the total number of study spaces at UCL to 5,391.

The Student Centre brings enquiry and support services together in a single location in the heart of the campus helps to ensure the support students need is convenient and accessible.


This is a new building. The Student Centre serves 42,000 UCL students and is situated in Bloomsbury, London.

The aims of the project for the university were to create a world-class learning environment for students, a building which delivers architectural quality on a level commensurate with UCL’s expertise in The Bartlett, and a building which meets the highest environmental standards.

The spaces include networked computer rooms, desk space, group study rooms and open-plan study areas. The dedicated Student Enquiries Centre and help points located on Floor 1 of the building will be a new hub for support, where staff from different parts of the university (Student & Registry Services, Library Services, Information Services Division) can help with a wide variety of questions students may have.

Permanent displays of public art, alongside temporary exhibitions, enrich the physical and intellectual environment for the whole UCL community and external visitors to the public ground floor. The centre showcases inspiring new artworks by UCL alumna and Turner Prize winner Rachel Whiteread, as well as work by Slade School of Fine Art staff and students.

New Project Data
New building

Total Floor Area
5,764 m2
Floor Area Open to Public
820 m2
Shelving Capacity Open Stacks
Shelving Capacity Closed Stacks
Number of Staff
30 FTE
Total Seating Capacity
Group Study Rooms
Individual Study Rooms

Late, Night, Weekend, 24/7
Additional Features
Special Rooms

A number of facilities and unique spaces are spread across 8 floors:
• Floor B2: Quiet contemplation rooms for prayer and meditation for all faiths
• Floor B1: Study spaces
• Ground Floor: Reception, study spaces, access to Gordon Street
• Mezzanine: Study spaces, access to Japanese Garden and Wilkins Building
• Floor 1: Student Enquiries Centre, Student Support and Wellbeing, open study space
• Floor 2: Quiet study rooms, group rooms, open study space
• Floor 3: Café, quiet study rooms, group rooms
• Floor 4: Terrace, social study room, group room

Special Features

• Passive first’ approach to design based on highly efficient building fabric which helps to regulate temperature and minimize energy use
• Projected 35% reduction in building carbon emissions compared to Building Regulations requirements (Part L 2013)
• Approximately 400m2 of photovoltaics (electric solar panels) on the roof providing clean, renewable energy
• ’Free’ summer cooling using a ground source borehole system
• Efficient sanitary fittings reduce water consumption by more than 50% compared to equivalent buildings
• Healthy and productive study spaces, optimising daylight, indoor air quality and providing a comfortable internal climate
• Highly durable materials help to minimise resource use associated with maintenance and repairs
• Biodiversity enhancements include planting in the Japanese Garden and a green roof which also have a positive influence on the microclimate

Additional Comments

Feedback from students has been overwhelmingly positive. Their suggestions have enabled us to enhance and develop the services that we offer and improve the overall study environment within the building. We have worked collaboratively with colleagues in other departments such as Student and Registry Services and IT Services to ensure that colleagues are cross-trained as much as possible to provide an excellent user experience at the point of need. We will be using the lessons learned from our experience of managing and operating the Student Centre to inform service provision at our new campus – UCL East – which will be opening at the Olympic Park in Stratford in 2022.