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University of the Arts London

Built in 1851 and steeped in history, the Granary Building is an exquisite landmark feature in the heart of King’s Cross. Today it is home to the University of the Arts London. Set out across 10 acres of floor space, the four-storey building houses a host of multi-purpose workshops and specialist studios, providing a dynamic and creative space to inspire the next generation of creative minds.

Info

Location
Granary Building, 1 Granary Square, King's Cross, London

Architect
Stanton Williams

Contractor
Overbury Plc

To develop an environment that would promote learning, the building required part-restoration and part new-build thereby forging a blend of old and new, industrial and modern space. The vision of base build architects, Stanton Williams, and fit-out architects Perkins + Will, was to create a hub of flexible spaces which could be adapted and transformed over time to meet the current and future needs of the University.

Glass is a dominant feature throughout the Granary Building, creating a transition between the old and new elements and helping to produce dynamic, versatile space. At its centre is an internal street, covered and naturally-lit by a glass, translucent roof.

Optima collaborated with the main contractor, Overbury, to enhance the aesthetic and atmospheric qualities of the building. This was achieved with the provision of glass partitions which have been used to create a mix of large, open plan breakout spaces and smaller private rooms, creating a flexible work environment for the building’s occupants. Encouraging collaboration and agile working, the glass partitions offer the flexible and adaptable space that was required for this world-famous arts college.

To meet safety standards in certain areas of the building, specialist glass partition systems were needed. Optima provided the metal workshop and lobby area with 30/30 fire-rated screens and doors. Acoustic laminated glass was also installed to areas of the building where an excellent level of sound control was required to create quiet spaces for study. Optima also designed bespoke glass features for the building which included display boxes with glass lids and frameless glass doors, as well as a free-standing feature screen.

The glass partitions, both technically and visually impressive, brought to life the vision of a flexible, modern building fused with the historical elements of the existing 19th century industrial building. The finished product has provided an inspiring space for the students who study here, allowing them to work comfortably, collaboratively and creatively for years to come.

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