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Penoyre & Prasad’s ‘gem-like’ lecture hall extension wins approval

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Camden planners have approved Penoyre & Prasad’s sculpted ‘gem-like’ rooftop lecture theatre for Birkbeck University

The London-based practice’s plans to refurbish Cambridge House, a 1920s former car showroom on Euston Road, and build a two-storey extension were backed by councillors on Thursday evening (19 April).

The building will be used as a second campus for the evening university, which is based nearby on Malet Street, and will include 440m² of additional teaching space providing capacity for 610 students and staff. 

The plans include a café and active learning space on the ground floor, a basement with teaching classrooms on the upper floors and a large lecture theatre in the rooftop extension.

Penoyre & Prasad said the geometric lecture hall, which will be clad in copper, will create a ‘striking landmark for the university’ and reinvigorate the existing building below.

Architect at the firm Louise Boddie added that the extension aimed to create ‘a beautiful moment’ that addressed both the character of Warren Street and its residential neighbourhood, as well as the dominant scale of Euston Road.

Birkbeck purchased Cambridge House in 2015 as part of its wider plans for high-quality teaching space close to their main campus.

The most recent feedback from Camden’s design review panel said it supported the ‘conceptual approach’ of designing the lecture theatre as a ‘gem-like’ structure perched above the existing building.

Birkbeck penoyre prasad axonometric

Birkbeck penoyre prasad axonometric

Project team

Client Birkbeck College
Architect Penoyre & Prasad
Project manager Mace
Planning consultant Turley Associates
Cost consultant Artelia UK
Structures Webb Yates
Services Skelly & Couch Ltd
Fire MLM
Acoustics Acoustics Central
Transport Alan Baxter
BREEAM Scott White and Hookins

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