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Schmidt Hammer Lassen's Westminster College opens

[First look + plans] Schmidt Hammer Lassen’s £67.7million City of Westminster College in west London has opened its doors to students

The 23,500m² new flagship campus sits in the heart of Central London at Paddington Green, replacing an ‘inefficient and failing 1960s block’.

The college of further education houses workshops, labs, a sports hall, a theatre and a public café and was the largest project to be awarded funding by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) before the building programme was predominantly shelved in early 2009.

The Danish practice saw off more than 100 other submissions from across Europe to land the project back in January 2007.

Click herefor a technical analysis of the reinforced concrete frame construction.

The architect’s view

Kim Holst Jensen, partner of Schmidt Hammer Lassen architects.

‘We carefully analysed the site and surroundings in order to create a design which allows the park, the trees and the city to interact with the new building.

‘City of Westminster College appears as a clean-cut, modern building with a distinct Scandinavian heritage. Iometric forms rotate around a terraced atrium, creating a unifying yet flexible organisation that facilitates the wide range of learning spaces the College contains.

‘The College is read as a stacked landscape of different learning spaces. The seven-storey building is experienced as open and accessible: the respective horizontal floor plans surrounding the atrium have visual connections from one floor to the other. The large atrium extends all the way to the façade on some floors, further enhancing the relationship between the inside and the outside. It is a dynamic centre and the heart of the College.’

‘The choice of colours for the building is inspired by its context and by the change of the seasons – the cooler shades of blues in the sky and the warm tones of nature – whilst the light timber panels lining the interior form a contrast to the exposed concrete surfaces and underline the Scandinavian design heritage.”

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