The works connected the university’s past with its future, fully integrating a Grade II Listed building, Bentham House, with a neighbouring mid-20th-century building, Hillel House, which housed the Gideon Schreier and Graduate Wings, within the predominantly Georgian conservation area. The adjacent building was significantly remodelled including a major extension at the rear and a completely new exterior facade with Portland stone, complementing UCL law’s original historic home.
With a growing UCL student and faculty body, Gilbert-Ash delivered a high-quality, technically-advanced, bright space, reflecting modern methods of learning. Working closely with leading architect firm, Levitt Bernstein, the development also comprises a central social hub, state-of-the-art research facilities and cutting-edge office and teaching areas.
The two buildings are now linked across all levels, with floor-to-ceiling windows, maximising the natural light and a new spacious atrium improving the student and faculty experience and providing access to all levels. The development incorporates sustainability features, including a biodiverse roof with photovoltaic arrays.
Rodney Coalter, Project Manager at Gilbert-Ash, commented: “Working closely with UCL, Levitt Bernstein and the whole redevelopment supply chain, we are really pleased with the high-end teaching facility that has been created. It enhances the learning environment and experience for both students and faculty, as well as visitors and alumni. Recognising the renowned reputation of UCL, the redevelopment also aims to build on the traditions and character of the university whilst providing an extended, modern space for continued ambitious learning and socialising.”
Professor Piet Eeckhout, Dean at UCL Laws, said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have the pleasure to welcome the faculty back home to Bentham House. UCL Laws has, at long last, a home fit for our world-leading research, teaching and social enterprise. The project has given the faculty more than a building; it’s given us an inspiring environment in which our whole community can come together.”
Professor Dame Hazel Genn, UCL Project Sponsor, said: “At the very core, the vision for redeveloping Bentham House has always been how the building will support, inspire and motivate the world-class teaching and thriving research culture within UCL Laws.
“The highly creative plans for the building have seamlessly married the much-loved traditional spaces with bright, modern facilities, giving our faculty a home that reflects and respects its heritage, while also supporting and driving its forward-thinking, global agenda.”
The UCL Faculty of Laws development is part of a larger scheme – ‘Transforming UCL’, the largest capital programme in the university’s history. It will see a substantial investment of over £1.2bn over a 10-year period to refurbish and develop some of UCL’s most iconic buildings whilst also bringing forward new world-class buildings to enable continued growth.
Highly detailed design, advanced logistical planning and development goes into every Gilbert-Ash project, with the team skilled in delivering the finest quality projects in the UK and globally.