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Second time lucky for Grafton's Kingston scheme

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Grafton Architects has won planning for a ‘flagship building’ at Kingston University after its first attempt was rejected by councillors in March

Jane Drew Prize winners Grafton Architects were asked to rethink their original proposals for a huge 9,320m² block which were criticised for being too large for the Town House site in the west London borough (AJ 24.03.15).

In response to the criticisms the building was set back an extra metre from the road, its colonnade was made ‘thinner and lighter’, and a proposed bridge link was removed.

The £55 million project on the university’s Penrhyn Road campus includes a resources centre, a 300-seat auditorium, rehearsal and performance spaces and three new public landscaped areas.

The scheme, the first phase of a larger masterplan, will be the university’s largest project to date and the Dublin-based practice’s first London job.

Vice-chancellor Julius Weinberg, said: Many students, staff and local residents have been inspired about how the development will benefit both the university and the borough. It has something for everyone and will help to put the university firmly on the map. We can now be justly proud and excited about being able to deliver a sympathetically-designed, yet remarkable, landmark building that will transform the learning experience at the university.

Kingston University’s director of estates Sean Woulfe, added: ‘Local people and heritage groups have responded very warmly to this project. The design reflects the university’s intention to engage with the public and open up learning opportunities for everyone. The colonnade draws people in, and the lively landscaped terraces showcase the university’s learning activities to everyone passing by, on this key gateway to the town centre.’

Grafton Architects beat O’Donnell and Tuomey, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Haworth Tomkins, and Bennetts Associates to bag the New Town House Building project at the Surrey university’s Penrhyn Road Campus in 2013.

The current building on the site is set for demolition in summer 2016, and the new building is expected to complete at the end of 2018.

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