November 5, 2008

Dramatic new building lets in the light of learning at LSE

Her Majesty The Queen opened a breathtaking new building at the London School of Economics and Political Science on the 5th November 2008 which will provide superb teaching space for students by day and the city’s most contemporary venue for public lectures in the evening. 

The £71 million New Academic Building, with entrances on Kingsway and Lincoln’s Inn Fields in central London has eight floors of teaching rooms, theatres, a debating chamber and offices. It is built around a soaring central atrium flooded with natural light. 

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  • The Queen and the Chairman of the Hellenic LSE Alumni Association
  • The Queen and the Director of the LSE Sir Howard Davies

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The building, designed by the architects Grimshaw and built by Osborne, will house the school’s Departments of Management and Law, and its new Grantham Research Institute on climate change. 

It includes four lecture theatres – the biggest seating up to 400 – which are used for LSE’s packed programme of public talks and events, all of which feature world-leading thinkers. 

At the building’s centre is a specially-commissioned artwork by Joy Gerrard which uses a series of hanging globes to represent constellations of ideas and the way that major political or economic thoughts echo through public life. 

LSE Director Howard Davies said: ‘It’s a wonderful space which at last gives us the academic environment to match our academic reputation. The building will help reinvigorate teaching and learning at an expanding LSE. I’m sure it will also be a popular destination for the thousands of visitors who come to our public talks and other events.’ 

The new building is helping the School to expand its student numbers to about 9,000. LSE alumni and other supporters have helped to pay for the project, with donations and gifts from more than 20 countries across the world – including four gifts of £1 million or more. 

The building has also been designed to minimise its environmental impact. A borehole deep in the London soil provides ground water cooling for lecture theatres while solar heating helps provide warm water. The building also includes a natural ventilation system and a cycle park – helping it achieve an Excellent rating under the BREEAM assessment scheme. 

A café and a student union shop are also on the building’s ground floor, which has a public plaza overlooking Lincoln’s Inn Fields. 

On the eighth floor sits a glass roof pavilion and balconies with dramatic views over central London. 

A second art work, by sculptor Richard Wilson, will be unveiled outside the building in the new year.

The New Academic Building is at 24 Kingsway, WC2A 3LJ

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