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Shepheard Epstein Hunter to finish Lasdun's work

Shepheard Epstein Hunter (SEH) is to revamp yet another Denys Lasdun building - this time his part-complete Institute of Education in Bloomsbury, north London.

The practice has already worked on Lasdun's famous University of East Anglia and has now been asked to prepare a 10-year masterplan for the Grade II*-listed 1976 building in Bedford Way.

The SEH design team, which includes structural engineer WhitbyBird and service engineer Atelier Ten, was picked ahead of John McAslan + Partners, Wilkinson Eyre and Avanti to land the £5 million project.

Originally conceived in 1965 as a much larger 'urban megastructure', similar to the neighbouring Brunswick Centre, the institute building is surrounded by listed Georgian buildings.

Lasdun had initially drawn up proposals for five 'stepped spurs'; however only one was ever built.

Pevsner describes the building as 'highly effective visually, with a strikingly sculptural silhouette of angular concrete escape stairs rising above the floor.

'The layering and stepping, the pedestrian routes at different heights, and the use of a long single range tying all together can be traced back to Lasdun's earlier buildings, especially the University of East Anglia.'

Exact details of SEH's proposals remain firmly under wraps.

by Richard Waite

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