SOAS University of London

Building from the ground up: The Senate House North Block courtyard gets a new floor

8 May 2015

A new concrete floor is being laid inside the courtyard of Senate House North Block. The process of laying the floor will be carried out in two stages: structural concrete pour, followed by the finished concrete floor finish pour, and take just over two weeks to complete.

Prior to the floor being laid, extensive work has taken place to prepare the area. Piling foundations were positioned and levelled off to provide addition support for the ground, a damp-proof membrane applied to prevent moisture transmission, duct and pipework installed, followed by further steel reinforcements. 

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The concrete floor is laid one section at a time

The courtyard which is 463 metres squared in size, has undergone a remarkable transformation since work began. The space, which is slightly smaller than two tennis courts, has already had 4000 tonnes of spoil removed, making the entire courtyard accessible from the lower ground floor for the first time in years.

Work to create the state-of-the-art facilities in the courtyard and around the building continues. Keith Jennings, Project Manager, said: “It will be the last of the heavy excavation works taking place before we start putting the building back together.”

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Steel reinforcements are laid prior to the concrete pour to provide extra support

Once complete, the courtyard will be covered by a free-standing glass roof and will be home to a café, informal learning spaces and the student service hub that centralises services such as accommodation, careers and enterprise.

Take a look inside the building and keep up-to-date with developments and images of ongoing construction and restoration work by visiting SOAS into Senate House.

If you would like your questions answered by the Senate House Project Team, please submit them to