© Foster + Partners

Imperial College Faculty of Engineering

Imperial College London appointed Foster + Partners to masterplan the South East Quadrant of their campus in South Kensington and to implement the delivery of the masterplan with a view to maximising the real estate within the site.

The South East Quadrant is occupied by various engineering departments and comprises a collection of fairly disparate existing buildings constructed in the 1960s. The project aimed to upgrade the existing facilities to deliver a united Faculty of Engineering with facilities commensurate with their position at the forefront of education and research.

The project involved the renovation and extension of a number of existing buildings together with a substantial new-build block that fronts Exhibition Road. The new building houses the Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering departments and physically connects with the existing Civil and Mechanical Engineering departments, uniting the primary engineering disciplines in a Faculty of Engineering.

The new-build element of the scheme consists of two distinct blocks as both a response to the architectural requirements for such a long stretch of street frontage and the functionality of the building. The intention of the building was to become the new public face of Imperial College, demanding the highest level of design and quality. Planning was also a key issue, with the buildings being located on the boundary of Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea.

The office block to the south is an eight-storey building with floor levels similar to those of the retained Mechanical Engineering Building. The north block is the research block, housing the dramatic new main entrance into the building. The upper levels contain research laboratories where the vibration performance of the floor is critical. There are two levels of basement beneath both blocks.

Ahead of construction, a number of enabling works packages were required to facilitate the reconfiguration of internal spaces and decanting of various departments within the university. This added considerably to the complexity of the project and required new services to be installed alongside existing live services, with all structural alteration works executed within an operational building.

Refurbishment and extension of Imperial College engineering faculty, with a connected new-build addition

London, UK
Imperial College
Foster + Partners, Sheppard Robson
£ 275 million