The Student Centre - UCL

A new hub to learn, think and collaborate

Creating the perfect eco-friendly learning environment

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The Student Centre - UCL Project summary


University College London

Key partners

UCL Estates, Arcadis, Nicholas Hare Architects

Services provided

Contracting, Construct




UK - London and south-east England, UK and Europe

Project timeline

Start date
January 2012

Project story

Founded in 1826, University College London has long been one of the world’s finest higher education institutions - attracting students from across the globe and delivering ground-breaking research.

With buildings spread across London, UCL is transforming its facilities through the largest capital programme in its history, with modern design, sustainable features and state-of-the-art technology.


Mace’s relationship with UCL dates back to 1999 and with a strong understanding of our client’s ambitions and values, we were appointed from Stage 4 design to act as the main contractor and designer.


The Student Centre, built between listed buildings, is spread across eight floors and centered around a striking atrium, providing a place for all students to study, learn, think, collaborate and explore. It’s also a hub for social activity with event space, prayer and meditation rooms, and a student enquiries centre for disability, mental health and wellbeing support.


The significant and progressive development has changed the way students interact and learn – encouraging socialisation and connectivity through a range of facilities and designs. With the addition of floor to ceiling windows, a roof terrace and tranquil urban courtyard, the Student Centre is already proving its value as a focal point for study, events and student life.

Street View of UCL Student Centre Building - Mace Group
1,000 additional study spaces
8 floors
2 basements

points of note

Constrained site

The Student Centre is situated on a challenging site with adjacent buildings that were in use throughout construction. We used our expertise early in the design phase, using 3D modelling to investigate various construction techniques ideal for working within a constrained site and reducing disruption. We worked alongside UCL Estates and stakeholders to schedule activity so that it had minimal impact on the neighbourhood, allowing them to remain open for business as usual.

Flexible design

The building was developed with durability in mind, both with the high-quality materials used and the adaptability of the design. Inbuilt, large, flexible floor plates and raised flooring allows the building to respond to the changing needs of UCL and its student population.

Hitting the mark with sustainability

The University’s ‘Transforming UCL Programme’ has set high standards when it comes to sustainability going well beyond regulatory and planning requirements. Mace worked with UCL Estates to ensure the building would work at its most efficient with minimal impact on the environment. Key features of the building include durable materials to minimise resources associated with maintenance, a large green roof terrace with a high number of native species, natural ventilation, fittings to reduce water consumption by 50%, 100m deep ground source bore holes and 400m2 of photovoltaics. The building is expected to achieve BREEAM ‘Outstanding’.

Collaboration is key

With stakeholders and user groups at the heart of the development, the building was created following extensive input from the client, students and academic staff. Using this invaluable information Mace provided clear deliverable design objectives to turn UCL’s vision into a reality; creating a space that works now with the flexibility to adapt to future uses and trends.