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FIRST LOOK

Hawkins\Brown’s Bartlett robotics lab at Here East unveiled

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The site will house new academic courses and facilities for University College London, alongside the new Bartlett Real Estate Institute on the Olympic Park site in east London

The 6,200m² Here East site for University College London (UCL) is the final phase in Hawkins\Brown’s six-year partnership with UCL Estates to rework the Bartlett School of Architecture’s educational estate under the Transforming UCL programme.

The practice was originally appointed in 2012 and developed a strategy that saw the temporary relocation of the Bartlett to Hampstead Road while it completed the deep retrofit of the school’s Bloomsbury headquarters at 22 Gordon Street. This opened in December 2016.

The practice and manufacturing-focused facility at Here East is intended to operate in tandem with 22 Gordon Street, spreading teaching and manufacturing space across the estate. Hawkins\Brown has been responsible for the redevelopment of Here East as part of the Olympic legacy, overseeing the conversion of the 72,000m² Olympic broadcast centre from masterplan to fit-out.

Here east 7355

Here East by Hawkins\Brown

Source: Tim Crocker

The layout places teaching studios and the Bartlett’s Real Estate Institute along the building’s glazed ‘crust’. The large robotics, testing and manufacturing space and labs are placed to the rear of the building in ‘black box’ spaces, artificially lit and mechanically ventilated.

The interiors make use of the same furniture and joinery that has been applied by Hawkins\Brown across the new Bartlett estate with materials such as plywood and exposed concrete. A joinery-lined ‘runway’ runs adjacent to the auditorium and connects open studio spaces for architecture and engineering students on the ground floor with the fabrication facility, labs and prototyping zone.

Also included is a 330-seat auditorium, a series of steps and terraces that provides the main social and event space. The auditorium is overlooked from windows within the Real Estate Institute, an open-plan space arranged around a pair of enclosed Harvard-style lecture theatres. The open-plan area is enclosed on three sides by offices, meeting rooms and seminar spaces, while the fourth is a glazed elevation opening on to a balcony that overlooks the Here East yard. 

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Here East by Hawkins\Brown, exploded axo

Source: Hawkins\Brown

Exploded axo

UCL’s space at Here East is the first phase of UCL’s presence on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. UCL East, which will be located south of the Aquatics Centre and the ArcelorMittal Orbit, is due to open 2021/2022.

Other organisations at Here East include Ford’s Smart Mobility Hub, Ladbrokes Coral’s tech and innovation hub, LC2; Studio Wayne McGregor; Signal Noise, online luxury fashion retailer Matches fashion. The V&A has recently unveiled proposals for a new collection and research centre at Here East. 3D and VR printing studio Hobs and video game company Sports Interactive will move onto the campus later this year Here East provided the perfect facilities for UCL’s needs, with large spaces for workshops and labs alongside an active community of creative businesses and makers.

Ucl here east ground floor layout labelled

Here East by Hawkins\Brown, ground floor

Source: Hawkins\Brown

Ground floor plan

Architect’s view

The brief was unique: create a space to support a diverse variety of activities, from studio-based and executive education teaching to public performances, technical research, large fabrication and manufacturing. Finding ways to accommodate the broad array of uses, facilities and environments within the building has been an exciting challenge. We hope the end result will make for a stimulating series of spaces that will enable new directions of technological and academic conversations to inspire the next generation of architecture and engineering students.

Tom Noonan, associate, Hawkins\Brown

Here east 7142.1

Here East by Hawkins\Brown

Source: Tim Crocker

Client’s view

This incredible facility at Here East makes new collaboration possible between different parts of the Bartlett and UCL’s Engineering Sciences Faculty. Environmental chambers and structural testing rigs sit alongside robotic cells and fabrication equipment. The space makes it possible for us to develop ways to intervene in the built environment at extreme scales; from full-scale construction components to telerobotic engineering at a cellular level, through to the valuation of the intangible aspects of the built environment, which will help investors create public good. This research and teaching is vital to advancing the skills in design, creativity and collaboration that future graduates of the built environment sector will need to master in order to resolve the challenges we face.

Alan Penn, dean of the Bartlett, UCL Faculty of the Built Environment 

Project data

Start on site July 2016
Completion February 2018
Gross internal floor area 6,200m² 
Form of contract or procurement route Single stage Design and Build
Total construction cost £10 million
Construction cost per m² £1,600 
Client University College London
Architect Hawkins\Brown
Main contractor Paragon Interiors
Structural engineer Buro Happold 
MEP consultant Buro Happold
Cost consultant AECOM
Acoustic consultant Buro Happold
Planning consultant Deloitte
Fire engineer Buro Happold
Project manager Mace
Principal designer Hawkins\Brown
Principal design adviser Turner & Townsend
Approved building inspector JLAB
CAD software used Vectorworks

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Question for Tom Noonan: any particular reason why there's a chunk missing from the top left corner of the 'B' supergraphic? (image 1/21)

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  • Hi Robert,

    The new glazed facade and graphics were part of a separate project by Hawkins\Brown which refurbished the original International Broadcast Centre for new tenants as part of the 'Here East' project. A, B, C, D, etc wrap around the building to highlight the various entrances.

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