skip to main content

Essential coronavirus info
Your safety is our first priority.

Your creative future starts here:


East Bank design awarded Outstanding BREEAM standard

Interior of the East Bank building
  • Written byCommunications Team
  • Published date18 November 2021
Interior of the East Bank building
UAL’s new building in Stratford, East Bank

We are delighted to announce UAL’s new building in Stratford, East Bank, has been received Outstanding BREEAM classification for its design, scoring the highest for:

  • energy efficiency
  • management (construction, commissioning, handover and aftercare)
  • facilitating sustainable transport and active travel,
  • water efficiency
  • sustainable land use including habitat protection and enhancement of ecology
  • long-term biodiversity management.

As well as achieving this highest BREEAM classification, the new building has been designed to achieve qualities not verifiable by any existing assessment methods, therefore surpassing sustainability performance in a number of areas.

Interior of the East Bank building

How we achieved Outstanding BREEAM at East Bank

Sustainability has been at the heart of how East Bank has been designed and now constructed. The ambitions for East Bank were set out from the very start with our sustainability goals embedded into the design brief. This approach meant that the aspiration for BREAAM outstanding, but more importantly low energy ‘in-use’ and natural ventilation, were set out as a requirement before plans for East Bank had been formalised and enabled the rating to be achieved at no identifiable additional cost.

How the building is being made

From utilising high volumes of recycled concrete for the frame, foundations and shell of the building to making use of existing equipment where it’s needed, East Bank has been brought to life through resources which have been recycled and repurposed.

On site, we make use of biofuel which produces 90% less carbon emissions than diesel and, through working closely with LLDC, have maintained UAL’s commitment to buy 100% renewable electricity. The latter of which has been powering the pump which churns out the non-virgin concrete needed throughout the build.

Aligning with our plans to connect to a site-wide, low carbon heat network to decarbonise heating by 2028, East Bank has been connected to a district heating system that is flexible and ready to move over to the most sustainable source as soon as the necessary technologies improve.

Interior of the East Bank building

Previous BREEAM awards and championing natural ventilation

We were previously awarded Outstanding BREEAM standard for our studios at Wimbledon thanks to a series of sustainability measures. Measures included making provision for natural ventilation, using renewable-energy sources and sustainable materials, and improving energy efficiency through better insulation. The building produces more energy than it requires through its roof-mounted solar panels. The Wimbledon studios received a BREEAM Outstanding score of 88.17%, while the design stage of East Bank scored 91.6%.

Natural ventilation replaces energy intensive alternatives for providing enough fresh air into a building. UAL Estates have long championed the advantages of natural ventilation and were able to ‘scale up’ the approach deployed at Wimbledon to the new academic extension at Camberwell cumulating with the design at East Bank.

The concrete frame will be used to cool the building overnight, purging the heat that has built up over the course of the day. This reduces the need for air-conditioning and mechanical ventilation which are energy inefficient and result in more energy being used to run the system. Leaving internal concrete surfaces exposed within the building not only improves the thermal efficiency of the building. By not covering up concrete surfaces the university has ‘designed out’ materials that would otherwise be used for internal finishes, reducing in-direct (scope 3) sources of carbon emissions and the extraction of unnecessary materials.

Reflecting on how this contributes to UAL’s commitments on sustainability and climate action, President and Vice-Chancellor James Purnell said: 

“We are thrilled to achieve BREEAM Outstanding through natural ventilation, recycling and repurposing, at our flagship East Bank building for London College of Fashion. This collaborative, thoughtful and sustainable design will help us meet our pledge to achieve net zero carbon by 2040. All UAL's recent building developments have been awarded by BREEAM, following academic extensions at Wimbledon and at Camberwell, demonstrating our commitment.”

Find out more about sustainability at UAL and our Climate Action Plan.