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Inside One Canada Square's Latest Renovation

Inside One Canada Square's Latest Renovation
06 October 2022

University College London School of Management has moved to the penthouse level of One Canada Square, Canary Wharf.

The heavily oversubscribed University College London School of Management has moved from Level 38 of the building to Level 50, the extra space allowing it to enrol more students and attract world-leading business teachers.

Specified by Buro Happold in conjunction with Nicholas Hare Architects, the Zumtobel Group lighting brands Zumtobel and Thorn have also provided a customised lighting scheme to transform the redesigned office space into a vibrant education facility.

The project was verified SKA Gold, the highest qualification in the RICS building sustainability evaluation scheme.



Picture: a photograph of the interior of the new lecture theatre at UCL. Image Credit: Redshift Photography


UCL in the Penthouse Space at One Canada Square


One Canada Square is an iconic skyscraper in Canary Wharf, London. At 770 ft and 50 storeys, it is the third tallest building in the United Kingdom.

Focussing on innovation, technology, analytics, and entrepreneurship, the University College London School of Management established itself on Level 38 of the building back in 2016. However, with growing student numbers, it required more space, and the decision was made to expand to Level 50.

The new space was designed by architects Nicholas Hare in collaboration with the School's former Director, Bert De Reyck. The design was inspired by start-up workspaces and academic and corporate environments, designed to encourage active collaboration and communication between students and faculty.

Level 50 had an existing office fit-out which included a mixture of open-plan and cellular offices. Designers implemented an innovative reuse of existing components to significantly reduce the project's embodied carbon.

The refurbished space provides a range of teaching and collaborative spaces, doubling the size of the facilities available. The includes a traditional “Harvard-style” lecture theatre with a 108-student capacity, a Student Hub, multiple group and individual study spaces and a flexible executive-style suite with panoramic views across the city. It gives students and faculty choices about how they work and adaptive facilities to suit their needs.


High-Grade Lighting Design at UCL


Central to the lighting design was the Zumtobel Slotlight infinity, which achieved perfect uniform lines of light without a cover frame. The luminaire is technically and thermally separated from the ceiling by a mounting frame. The result is a high-grade lighting solution meticulously integrated into the interior design, which appears as a fully consistent light line.

All the lighting is DALI and is connected to the school's lighting control system; dimming control was vital due to the glass building facade.

The project wasn't without its challenges, as Tony Dendy, Key Account Manager (London Specification) at Zumtobel Group, explains, "Some challenges we had to overcome were that we needed some precise non-standard angles of the Slotlight infinity. Due to the long runs, if they had been just a fraction out, it would have been accentuated along the run and therefore ruin the installation. Furthermore, there were some special Slotlight Infinity square sizes, adapted to fit around the columns in the communal street for a precise finish and to work with the wooden ceiling slats.

“Another special was in the metal ceiling tiles where lengths were non-standard, our Slotlight Infinity Technical product was specified but because there was a limited ceiling void depth that included other services above, we could not use the standard wire suspensions for the installation and therefore another solution was found using rear mounted brackets (subject to weight) normally designed for other ceiling types.”

Sarah Knox, Senior Facilities and Operations Administrator, UCL School of Management comments, “Across our new floor we installed a variety of stylish light lines to meet our brief and focus on smart design and sustainable materials, ensuring we created the right experience in each space to manifest sustainable, welcoming premises. The quality lighting supports the collaborative learning and working environment we have developed and enhances the wellbeing of staff and students while at work or taking a break.

"Our state-of-the-art, well-designed space helps us attract truly talented individuals to establish ourselves as a global business school whose world-leading post-graduate teaching and research facilities allow us to continue to be one of the top-ranked business schools in the UK.”

Picture: a photograph of the interior of the renovation at UCL, showing a communal area with comfortable chairs. Image Credit: Redshift Photography

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 06 October 2022


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