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Where are we now in the LCF Stratford building development, June 2022

View of LCF's new building on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on East Bank in Stratford. Photography by Tony Lall-Chopra, Technical Co-ordinator: Stratford D&D at LCF.
  • Written byLondon College of Fashion
  • Published date09 June 2022
View of LCF's new building on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on East Bank in Stratford. Photography by Tony Lall-Chopra, Technical Co-ordinator: Stratford D&D at LCF.
View of LCF's new building on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on East Bank in Stratford. Photography by Tony Lall-Chopra, Technical Co-ordinator: Stratford D&D at LCF.

After celebrating the 'Topping Out' of London College of Fashion, UAL's new single-site campus building development on East Bank, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in September last year, the building is on track for its official opening in September 2023. In this update, we revisit FAQs about LCF’s new building and where we are now in the development.

When will the building be completed?

The construction works are progressing in line with the published Capital Programme and are due to be completed in early 2023. Commissioning and building handover will continue up until June 2023, as we install building systems and final fit-out in preparation for staff and students arrival in September 2023.

What size is our future building and how has it been specified?

Our building will be a 3,500-person capacity university facility (this means that up to 3,500 students and staff in total can use the building at any one time) with workshops, lecture theatres, a library, office, storage and ancillary space. The architects are working to a brief that will deliver a building of approximately 36,000 square metres in terms of gross internal area.

Who’s designing our building and how is it being developed?

Our building is being designed by architects Allies and Morrison (A&M), a London-based architecture and urban planning practice that was founded in the 1980s. A wide range of A&M’s completed projects have won the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Awards (41 in total) and has twice been shortlisted for the prestigious Stirling Prize. A&M has extensive experience of working in education, including the Arts and Humanities Building for Manchester Metropolitan University and several Colleges within the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. A separate team within A&M is also working on the future building for UAL’s London College of Communication.

The development of our building is being undertaken within the RIBA Plan of Work. This universally followed architectural programme organises the process of briefing, designing, constructing and operating building projects into eight stages and details the tasks and outputs required at each stage. We are currently in RIBA stage 5 – the construction phase of the building structure and infrastructure, requiring an ongoing design team and client engagement to ensure that the built environment meets the design intent.

The design of our new building has also received Outstanding BREEAM classification, scoring the highest at the design stage 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.
Lecture theatre acoustic ceiling install inside LCF’s new building. Photography by Mark Farthing, Programme Director (Major Capital Projects) UAL.
Lecture theatre acoustic ceiling install inside LCF’s new building. Photography by Mark Farthing, Programme Director (Major Capital Projects) UAL.

What will the building look and feel like?

The architects have taken inspiration from traditional factory buildings, and intend to use a palette of brick, steel, concrete and wood. Their designs so far speak to the heritage of London and to the heritage of fashion, while delivering a future-focused purpose-built and human-scale environment for the development of our curriculum, a twenty-first-century factory of ideas. Take a look at our recent in-pictures on the progress of the building.

Main staircase inside LCF’s new building. Photography by Mark Farthing, Programme Director (Major Capital Projects) UAL.
Main staircase inside LCF’s new building. Photography by Mark Farthing, Programme Director (Major Capital Projects) UAL.

Currently, the structural frame of the building, internal stairs and atria are now complete. The frontal orange-peel staircase was designed to signify an operatic and theatrical entrance to the public realm of the building. Watch a video detailing the process of installing the staircase. The scalloped cladding and windows are now installed up to the 11th floor. As the building is now weather resilient, focus turns to the fit-out and building services of the floors in the lower half of the building. The installation of the lifts has also now begun.

Saw Tooth roof cladding. Photo Mark Farthing, Programme Director (Major Capital Projects) UAL.
Saw Tooth roof cladding. Photo Mark Farthing, Programme Director (Major Capital Projects) UAL.

How is the project being funded?

UAL will contribute to it through accumulated reserves, as well as selling buildings that LCF currently occupies. LCF’s Lime Grove and Golden Lane buildings recently went on sale. Both buildings will continue to be occupied by LCF until the latter part of 2023, with the final completion of the sale coming into effect once students and staff from both sites have moved to LCF’s new building in East Bank. The overall project is also being supported by Central Government, the Greater London Authority and a campaign to private philanthropists, trusts and foundations.

How is the project being managed and who’s involved?

The East Bank project is being managed by the London Legacy Development Corporation, the body that has been set up to ensure that the Olympic legacy promises made in the original London 2012 Games bid are realised. Within UAL, a governance framework has been established that involves the Court of Governors, a team drawn from across the University, and the College itself. A UAL Stratford Steering Board has responsibility for overseeing the project, ensuring that LCF’s interests are met and any risks are mitigated. The UAL Estates Team manage the capital programme and delivery of LCF’s new building at Stratford. A College-based Stratford Transition Executive Group reports into the Stratford Steering Board, this is made up of the Stratford workstream leads and other key members of staff, who are collectively charged with imagining a future for LCF and putting in place the stepping stones towards this future.

Views from the park. Photo Mark Farthing, Programme Director (Major Capital Projects) UAL.
Views from the park. Photo Mark Farthing, Programme Director (Major Capital Projects) UAL.

What about outside space?

Our building fronts onto a new piece of public realm that is bound by the River Lea. The public square faces onto the Olympic Park’s Pleasure Gardens, the main pedestrian plaza designed by James Corner Field Operations (the practice also responsible for New York’s High Line) and planting designer Piet Oudolf. The same team is also working on a series of green terraces that will be incorporated into the exterior of our building. We are working with the architects to ensure that there is as much greenery and planting as possible. External terraces and the ability to ‘step outside’ of the building is a key requirement for the College. Garden rooms with internal planting, will be located on three floors, opening onto terraces and creating inside and outside rooms, while connecting terraces wrap around two facades of the building from the 10th to the 12th floor affording unrivalled panoramic views of London.

London Legacy Development Corporation has commissioned artists to produce artworks that will be embedded within the public realm at Stratford Waterfront. The intention is that these works add an extra level of interest and engagement whilst giving people an additional reason to spend time in the public realm on a regular basis.