Berman Guedes Stretton (BGS) has created a bold and sophisticated London showcase for the University of Warwick’s new business school. Now branded WBS London, the school’s new London campus was opened by Boris Johnson on the 17th floor of The Shard.
The design provides 1,130m2 of fluid, sophisticated space with the ambience of a global HQ and includes two 100-seat lecture theatres, an IT centre, a reception and breakout area, as well as eight seminar rooms and a large meeting room.
The entrance and sizeable reception are located at the northern end of the floor alongside break-out areas and two flexible teaching spaces which offer state of the art teaching facilities with a light and open feel. Leading from the reception to the formal lecture theatre and computer suite, a WBS blue accent wall draws visitors in with an eye-catching plywood graphic of Shakespeare in the main corridor.
Anna Ó’lgne from BGS said: “The biggest challenge was to design two lecture theatres and a computer suite in a building with floor to ceiling glazed facade without taking away the view from the general circulation areas. We achieved this by installing glazed walls to meeting and seminar rooms to allow 360 degrees views out, and glazed corners were used in the computer suite to increase the visual link through to the south façade. Given the complex space planning and circulation design, we are pleased with how these have integrated quietly into the existing building form.”
Whilst highly considerate of the stunning views, the design also allows flexible space use. The north lecture room can be opened up to become part of the break-out space for social events, some of the smaller meeting rooms have foldable walls to create a mid-size seminar room or large meeting room, while the less flexible rooms such as the tiered lecture theatre and trading room are all located furthest away from the reception area. This flexibility allows the Warwick Business School to configure rooms to suit different educational and corporate requirements.
Space flow was also carefully planned to eliminate bottlenecks. Large milling spaces are organised at entrances to seminar rooms and break-out spaces to accommodate waiting groups, and separate egress routes are provided to avoid cross-overs.