Kingston School of Art, Knights Park Campus

With Kingston School of Art’s outstanding reputation in mind, we knew this project had to be a masterpiece. Working closely with architects from Haworth Tompkins, we have provided the university with 9,500sqm of new and improved facilities that match their status as one of UK’s leading art and design schools.

Key features

  • Solar shading canopies
  • High performance glazing
  • Double height space creation linked to workshops
  • Ventilation replacements

The most significant part of the project was the dramatic overhaul of the School’s 1970s Mill Street Building. Like an old machine in need of a service, the building suffered from a confusing layout and poor environmental performance. Following the new design, we conducted a series of essential repairs and upgrades to external and internal elements which have transported the building into the 21st century whilst also retaining its distinctive architectural profile.

The exterior has been rejuvenated with attractive weathering steel solar shading canopies to reduce peak solar glare in the summer and new high-performance glazing to improve insulation during winter. Inside, we refreshed all M&E and IT services and extended the existing passenger and goods lifts from the 4th to the 5th floor to ensure easier access throughout the building.

Working in new dimensions

The university wanted a space that would enable staff and students to work collaboratively, so we devoted significant time and energy to the reshaping of the existing interior into a more versatile workspace. The result is a five-floor multipurpose hub dedicated to various forms of art and design which encourages faculties to collaborate in unique and productive ways.

The ground floor now houses a vast 3D workshop with space to facilitate woodwork, metalwork, stonework and ceramics; the first floor is home to a 2D workshop for photography, digital media, fine art and printmaking; and the remaining floors will be used by design and architecture students. In addition to the exceptional workshop facilities, a new rooftop balcony area gives students a place to study, take in some fresh air or gaze into the horizon in search of inspiration.

Keeping it moving

Due to much of the refurbishment taking place in occupation, we had to be strategic about how we conducted the works. To help minimise disruption and ensure the project progressed efficiently, we took a phased approach and temporarily relocated departments to suitable decant space around the university. Moreover, we developed our complex phasing strategy closely with the client and other partners involved in the project to ensure minimal impact on staff and students.

Supporting artists of the future

Kingston School of Art’s underlying ethos of ‘Thinking Through Making’ has been reinforced through an extensive upgrade to its studio facilities and the creation of a new double height space linked to the workshops, allowing students to work more easily on a much larger scale. Thanks to the replacement of the building’s 50-year-old heating and ventilation system and widespread repurposing of existing materials, the project has earned a BREEAM Outstanding rating for sustainability and has delivered a 52% reduction in carbon emissions.

Designed and constructed with longevity in mind, the refurbished building will give students the opportunity to learn together and gain the vital knowledge and experience in their specific craft in an environment that replicates the professional world they will one day enter. We are proud to have helped create an innovative and eco-conscious learning environment for the young artists of the future to enjoy for years to come.

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