28 February 2014
SOAS, University of London is embarking upon a major building project to transform its central London campus.
SOAS has been granted planning permission and listed building consent by the London Borough of Camden for the redevelopment of the North Block of Senate House, the landmark Art Deco building that was London’s first skyscraper.
Architects' impression of Senate House North Block entrance
The redevelopment will enable SOAS, the world’s leading institution for the languages, cultures and societies of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, to expand its vibrant campus around a central precinct in the heart of Bloomsbury, London’s prestigious district of learning and heritage. It will also enable the planned increase by 25% of SOAS’ cosmopolitan student body.
Senate House was designed by the British architect Charles Holden and was listed as Grade II* in 1969, in recognition of its great architectural significance.
SOAS was granted the lease to the North Block earlier this year. The project brings new life to the building, which has been unoccupied for several years since other University functions relocated.
Professor Paul Webley, Director of SOAS, says: ‘SOAS into Senate House is an ambitious project which underpins long-term stability of SOAS, so we are very pleased to have passed this important milestone. Senate House is an extraordinary building and our plans retain the integrity of Charles Holden’s breath-taking design while giving us expanded learning and teaching facilities, fit for the twenty-first century and for our role as a world-class institution.’
Architects' impression of the Fred Eychaner Atrium
The recent £20 million gift to SOAS from the Alphawood Foundation Chicago includes £5 million toward the development of the architecturally impressive central atrium at the heart of the Senate House project. In recognition, this glass-roofed central space, designed to be a dynamic student social and learning hub, will be named the Fred Eychaner Atrium after Alphawood’s founder. The Senate House North Block project is central to SOAS’ Centenary Fundraising Campaign, part of the celebrations to mark the School’s first 100 years in 2016.
Architects' impression of the balcony above the Fred Eychaner Atrium