VERTICAL VARSITY

The Bartlett School of Architecture | Summer School 2014

London has by far the largest student population in the UK, currently standing at over 400,000 and quickly growing. This student population is extremely diverse, multicultural and transient yet can still be considered a community that has the same needs as any other. Places to eat, sleep, learn, shop, work are all essential. The fact that most of the members of this community are from entirely different backgrounds with no ties to each other than a thirst for knowledge, means that the need for a sense of community is all the more pressing. High land values and rental prices however are increasingly forcing students in London to move further and further away from the facilities they use every day. This leads to long commuting times for students and erodes the sense of community that is essential for creating a world-class, collaborative and multi-disciplinary educational facility. To tackle this problem UCL is currently considering moving the university eastwards to the outskirts of the city, creating a new outpost in Stratford. Our unit will ask the question; is this the best solution for the university and for the city itself?

Our unit will look at this problem and propose an alternative solution. Instead of relocating into a sprawling university campus on the edge of the city we will propose a dense, vertical campus at the centre of the city. It will be a place for students and educators to live, learn and work. It will be an inviting structure that welcomes the city in, provide functions that are useful to the immediate community of the campus as well as the larger community of the city. In doing so we hope to propose a new form of high density, vertical living in London that builds communities rather than fragmenting them.

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