Overbury has been appointed to deliver the £35 million refurbishment of the Bush House buildings for King’s College London.
The extensive project, part of King’s acquisition of Aldwych Quarter, will significantly upgrade the interiors of the buildings to provide new teaching spaces, study areas, offices for academic staff, auditoria, and a new students’ union.
King’s is leasing five iconic and recently refurbished Cat A buildings in the Aldwych Quarter, next to its historic Strand Campus. To create an inspirational space for students, academics and faculty staff, Overbury’s £35 million refurbishment will convert the blank canvas into an environment befitting the university’s high standards. The current project includes three buildings on site, Bush House – the former headquarters of the BBC World Service, Kings House and Strand House.
Built in 1929 by businessman Irving T Bush and designed by Harvey W Corbett, the original function of Bush House was to be an international trade centre with exhibition galleries, shops, conference rooms, reference libraries, a small theatre, badminton court, cinema, swimming pool, club and restaurant. In 1941, it became the home of the BBC World Service, who occupied the building until 2012. The acquisition of the Bush House buildings cements King’s standing as a world-class education and research institution, and its ambition to create state-of-the-art facilities that foster creativity and engagement between staff, students and the wider King’s community. The development will enhance the existing Strand campus, enabling flexibility for the future.
Anticipated to complete in the summer, the five-month programme to transform Bush House, Kings House and Strand House will see the creation of a double-height 400-seater auditorium, event space with fully equipped catering kitchen, commercial kitchen and students’ union, health centre, numerous learning and study spaces, seminar rooms, lecture theatres and office space. In addition to the creation of these spaces, several floors will need to be reinforced to accommodate the weight of bookcases and books. The intention is for the buildings to be fitted out to a Cat B standard which will include all furniture, with specific attention paid to the IT and AV services. Once complete, the Bush House buildings will provide approximately 300,000 sq ft for student study and social space, new teaching facilities and academic accommodation.
This wave of refurbishment follows Overbury’s recent completion of phase one in Bush House, which was handed over in November 2016. This earlier £2 million project saw the creation of a lecture theatre, new offices, seminar rooms, as well as learning and study spaces. Familiar with the university’s requirements, Overbury has successfully delivered 17 projects (£46 million) in the last four years.
“These landmark buildings require an extensive redevelopment to help meet King’s expansion plans and create a space in keeping with their ambitions to compete on a global stage for students and academics alike. We have a long-standing relationship with King’s, and understand it’s values and expectations and having recently finished phase one works in Bush House, which is now occupied, we’re working with the team to ensure the programme of works is delivered on time with minimal disruption,” explains Bob Banister, Overbury managing director in London.
King’s College London project director, Frank Rogers adds: “Bush House buildings will create a vibrant and dynamic campus in the heart of London by uniting two prime central London locations, the Aldwych and our historic Strand campus. We are delighted that Overbury is continuing to work with us in bringing forward state-of-the-art education and research facilities which will further enhance our standing as a leading global university.”