Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication
RIBA National Award 2011
Location: London, United Kingdom
Client: Meridian Delta Ltd
Date: 2010 Completion
Total Area: 21,500m2
Budget: £50 million
FOA Partner in charge: Alejandro Zaera-Polo
Project Architect: Penny Sperbund
Design and Supervision Team: Sukyeong Kim, Maider Llaguno, Nankuei Lyn, Cristina Parreno, Carmen Sagredo, Mio Sato, Emory Smith, Daniel Spreier, Azizah Sulor, Changho Yeo
The new building for the Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication in Greenwich was relocated facing the 02 Arena in London with the ambition to update its facilities, engage with digital technologies and become a hub for the design and media industry which are expected to flourish in this new sector of London.
The architecture of the building aims to capitalise on the tradition of Arts and Crafts Schools in the UK, from which Ravensbourne College is an offspring. Gothic rose windows and flower patterns have been a rich field of inspiration for the project, but in this building they were not produced as imitation of nature but as an abstract mathematical construction, based on a non-periodic tessellation pattern which allows seven different types of windows to be built out of only three different tiles. The geometrical system, which derives from a Hirschhorn pattern was patented during the design of the project.
The building is designed to enforce cross-fertilisation between the different departments in the school and the community of practitioners. The programs are structured around a system of two interconnected atria. The atria have been systematically attached to the external façade in order to be used not only as ventilation devices, but also to visually connect the core of the public spaces in the building with its urban surroundings.
In order to achieve optimum environmental performance, low-maintenance and high flexibility, the massing has been kept as compact as possible, with a very low ratio of façade to area. The need for studio spaces and workshops and the low-lighting levels required by the film studios and predominantly IT-based activities lend themselves naturally to this typology of space.