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Levitt Bernstein wins planning for £18.5m UCL job

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Plans for an £18.5million scheme combining two buildings currently housing the University College London’s Faculty of Laws have won planning permission

Levitt Bernstein’s proposals for the grade II-listed Bentham House and neighbouring Gideon Schreier Wing at UCL’s Bloomsbury Campus aim to create a ‘single identity’ for the two blocks by adding new floorspace and a glazed atrium to connect them internally.

The architect said the scheme would rationalise the buildings’ layouts, integrating them ‘physically and socially’, spelling the end for the facade of Richard Seifert’s 1971 Gideon Schreirer Wing. The 1957 Bentham House building designed by H and H Martin Lidbetter will be largely unaltered.

The sculpted concrete and glass frontage of Gideon Schreirer Wing will be reclad in portland stone ‘to better connect it’ with Bentham House and another listed building to the south.

The Gideon Schreier Wing, formerly Hillel House, was designed by Seifert’s office as a hostel and cultural centre. It is the latest Seifert building in London to face the wrecking ball.

Last month Piercy & Co won planning permission to demolish an early building by Seifert & Partners - the 1958 Copyright House in Berners Street - and replace it with a 9,755m2 mixed use scheme for Derwent London (AJ 15.10.14).

Robert Staton, project officer at UCL Estates, said Camden Council’s approval of the proposals would address ‘long standing building and space deficiencies’ in addition to providing high-quality teaching and social learning spaces that were ‘sympathetic to the buildings history and status’.

Levitt Bernstein managing director Matthew Goulcher said: ‘This project for UCL’s Faculty of Laws provides them with state of the art facilities and also gives them a refreshed physical identity, achieved by combining the two disparate existing buildings to make a new, single architectural composition of real quality.’

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