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UEL to launch global contest for 'iconic' Docklands India centre

The University of East London (UEL) is planning an international design competition for a landmark expansion to its Edward Cullinan-designed Docklands campus

The International India Centre is planned as an ‘iconic’ extension celebrating South Asia’s contribution to British society and business.

Planned to open in 2015, the educational scheme is a joint effort between the university and major conglomerate Sahara India Pariwar which will base its UK headquarters on the site.

It was announced the same week prime minister David Cameron led a trade mission to the sub-continent paving the way for a new ‘special relationship’ between India and the UK.

Expected to be a ‘bold and brave addition to the royal docks,’ the university is seeking a ‘world renowned’ architect for the design – according to a UEL spokesperson. An international contest is expected to open this summer.

Forming an ‘integral part’ of the 1999 Edward Cullinan-designed masterplan, the project will be around 70 per cent offices for the conglomerate with the remaining 30 per cent split between university teaching space and cultural uses.  

The university and business signed a memorandum of understanding concerning the project in India today (20 February).

Under the deal, the parties will work in partnership to develop and manage the building. Courses on offer will include Islamic finance, Indian fashion and media.

UEL deputy vice-chancellor and chief operating officer, Dusty Amroliwala, said: ‘Without question, the lure of Sahara setting up its European operation at UEL will attract some of India’s most elite students to our university, helping boost recruitment figures and bring inward investment into East London.’

The university will complete a six month-long planning consultation before launching the competition with construction planned to start in early 2014. The contest judging panel has yet to be announced.

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