Chartered Institute of Building Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Building

Onsite

SSDA 2020: Centre Building, London School of Economics

4 November 2020

Photo credit: AKT II

Exposed steelwork plays a structural and aesthetic role in this educational building 

Constructed in two parts, with a six-storey and 13-storey element, and interlinked by an atrium, the Centre Building project replaces four previous buildings that were demolished on the London School of Economics (LSE) campus. 

The overall superstructure system of steel beams and columns, concrete cores and precast concrete floor slabs facilitates simple and flexible floorplates, which can easily be adapted for future uses.

Exposed steelwork, internal and external, gives the building a distinct and contemporary appearance. At either end of each block, exposed SHS bracings bookend the project and form a highly visible steelwork element. This exoskeleton bracing, which sits approximately 300mm outside of the building envelope, is also a structural requirement, sharing the stability with two concrete cores.

The judges said it is a carefully crafted building, worked into an extremely constrained site. Close collaboration between the design team and steel fabricator has produced a high-quality appearance to the steelwork with careful attention to the connection details and paint finish. 

  • Commendation: Centre Building, London School of Economics
  • Architect: Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
  • Structural engineer: AKT II
  • Steelwork contractor: Billington Structures Ltd
  • Main contractor: Mace
  • Client: London School of Economics