Blog: SECBE Awards 2022 finalist - Birkbeck University of London, 373 Euston Road

30 March 2022

Value

Birkbeck University of London, 373 Euston Road (submitted by Artelia) 

Value Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards 2022 finalist

A bold showcase for inclusive modern education facilities, 373 Euston Road, delivers Birkbeck’s vision of education for all and puts this unique ‘evening university’, firmly on the map as a world-class learning institution.

Enfolded within a compact building footprint is a highly efficient, vibrant teaching and learning space that constantly surprises and delights the students and staff who use it. The reuse of a 1920s built former car showroom, proves that old buildings can be sustainably refurbished and reused, instead of being torn down and tons of materials sent to a landfill.

The building proudly lives up to Birkbeck’s carbon reduction commitments achieving BREEAM Excellent through low embodied carbon, comprehensive energy efficiency improvements to the fabric and building systems and renewable generation through roof-mounted photovoltaics, reducing carbon emissions by more than 35%. The building is also equipped with a rainwater collection system and a green roof terrace for improved biodiversity.

It is flooded with natural light and smartly ventilated to make it comfortable inside and to mitigate the local noise and air pollution of the Euston Road, helping to improve wellbeing, mood and productivity.
Conceivably, the most value has been added through optimisation of space within the building.

Collectively, the client, professional team and contractor used their creativity and innovation to squeeze and carve out of the existing shell and core Inspiring learning spaces every single mm2 of useable space internally, beneath and above. As well as extending the basement down and adding a rooftop extension, every conceivable space has been put to use from coal holes (now booths for collaborating students) to the extended overhang of the roof – the design has pushed boundaries where it could.

The result is a public teaching building with a domestic human scale – which is what delights its users. Everything is within ‘arms reach’ or two minutes' walking distance of classrooms. The stair cores, the lifts core, WCs, café and student focussed social learning spaces. This means that the building can be quickly and easily understood, is convenient to use and not wasteful. Yet it still has a lot of architectural ‘moments’ which are very well stitched together to form the complete experience.

The ROI for 373 Euston Road is enviable. Based on 180 days a year, 10 year term day teaching space rental contract with an external education provider, ROI equals 80% of construction cost outlay. This is independent of costs saved by Birkbeck in not hiring teaching space from an external provider to deliver its own evening teaching.

Birkbeck and the professional team are justly proud of this building and showcased it through the London Open House scheme – feedback is consistently about how accessible, efficient, easily understood and enjoyable the building is. Camden’s mayor has also enjoyed a guided tour and the building continues to generate interest in the construction press and through awards – recently winning the Learner category of the New London Awards and being shortlisted for the Structural Awards 2022.

The chief success and innovation of 373 Euston Road is that it delivers value on so many levels for the client and end-user for a relatively modest cost and now provides the blueprint by which Birkbeck will roll-out future teaching spaces.


Key achievements:

  • 373 Euston Road is a beacon for marketing Birkbeck internally and externally. This is supported by the accolades of winning awards like New London Awards 2021 (Learning Category)

  • 373 Euston Road delivers Birkbeck’s best teaching space to date and it will be used as the model for future developments – particularly with regard to informal learning spaces which were found to have a profound effect on experience, establishing connectivity and a sense of belonging. To this end, Birkbeck has recently acquired a large building adjacent to its main building in Malet Street to develop a new dedicated teaching building in the heart of Bloomsbury.

  • ROI value for 373 Euston Road is enviable. Based on 180 days a year, 10-year term day teaching space rental contract with an external education provider, ROI equals 80% of construction cost outlay. This is independent of cost saved by Birkbeck in not hiring teaching space from an external provider to deliver its own evening teaching.


Client: Birkbeck University of London

Partners: Penoyre & Prasad (now Perkins & Wills) Architect, ARJ Construction - Contractor, Mace – Project Manager, Webb & Yates – Structural Engineer, Skelly & Couch Ltd – MEP Engineer


Find out who wins at the Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards 2022 Ceremony on Thurs 30th June 2022.


About the Value Award

Judges are looking for an initiative, project or series of projects that has focused on the value of facilities in use and the outcomes for owners and users. More info.

>> Find out more about the other Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards finalists here

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