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The Cass to stay in East End after London Met rethinks controversial move

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A contentious plan to move the Cass School of Architecture to north London is set to be scrapped after the college confirmed it was staying put in its new East End home

In 2015 the London Metropolitan University’s decision to sell the school’s former building in Aldgate, Central House, to create a consolidated single campus in Holloway sparked outrage among staff and students.

Following the sale of the ‘Aldgate Bauhaus’, the school moved to the Calcutta complex, a former tea warehouse on Goulston Street, ahead of its eventual move to the new £125 million campus.

But following a rethink by the university, the entire Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design will now stay there permanently. The art and the design departments moved to the Calcutta complex from their Commercial Road base in 2016.

The decision will be considered by the London Met board in the next few weeks before a final decision is made.

It follows a difficult 2018 for the Cass, which saw the deaths of both its head of architecture Signy Svalastoga and its former professor of architecture Florian Beigel.

Head of the Cass, Andy Stone, said he was ‘delighted’ that for the first time in the school’s history all three departments were working under one roof.

‘They’re benefitting through greater exposure to each other’s practice, events, exhibitions and facilities – there is so much energy here,’ he said.

‘The Cass’s continued presence in Aldgate has strengthened our relationship with local practices and businesses and enabled further collaboration with partners, communities and local authorities.’

‘We’re ingrained into an area where there is significant change and we feed off of that, producing work of extraordinary quality and breadth.

‘So now, as we search for a new head of architecture, is a wonderful time to be part of the Cass.’

The Calcutta complex, near Aldgate East tube station, is home to Calcutta House, the Annexe buildings and Goulston Street, all of which have been refurbished with new studio spaces, workshops and exhibition areas.

In November, AHMM revealed proposals to build a six-storey extension above the Cass’s former home, Central House, for a proposed 14,651m² office and retail scheme.

The building’s sale was part of a controversial ‘one campus, one community’ plan to move the university’s sites to Holloway Road.

At the time, architecture diploma students at the Cass wrote to the school’s board of governors threatening to quit the institution unless they were allowed to stay in the Aldgate base in a campaign backed by Richard Rogers and David Chipperfield.

AHMM's proposals for The Cass' former building, Central House

AHMM’s proposals for The Cass’ former building, Central House

AHMM’s proposals for The Cass’ former building, Central House

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