Illustration of the raking lecture theatre beneath the building
LSE appointed Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners (the award winning architects for Cornwall's Eden Project) in 2005 as lead consultants to design the new building.
Grimshaws have recently been awarded the prestigious Lubetkin Prize, for the Southern Cross Station in Melbourne, Australia. For more details, please visit the Grimshaw Architects website.
The ground floor is to be opened up and will contain reception, retail and café facilities with a new entrance on Kingsway that will form a seamless access between the differing environs of Kingsway and Lincoln's Inn Fields.
The north half of the external forecourt to Lincoln's Inn Fields will step upward to form a bank of tiered seating – a reference to the raking lecture theatre beneath – whilst a café area will form more social space on the southern half.
Image above: the central atrium
The central atrium is the nucleus of the building. It is a light filled, triple height space with gallery levels above to all sides. It is the key point of orientation and visual connection throughout the building and is the primary space for social interaction.
The floor of the atrium forms a figure which folds down to provide access to the lower ground floor lecture theatres and function spaces, before sweeping upwards to the glazed atrium roof and framing the two mezzanine gallery levels.
Main lecture theatre
The main lecture theatre will have a capacity of 400 seats. Another theatre located under the forecourt at its northern end seats 130 and is a traditional raked theatre. There will be two additional 'Harvard Style' lecture theatres accommodating 70 and 60 seats. These are tiered classrooms and are semi-circular or horseshoe shaped to facilitate greater interaction between students and the lecturer.
With the main teaching and social areas housed on the lower levels, the upper floors are given over to departmental space. There will also be development of the roof, with a new pavilion that can be used as a staff lounge, meeting facility and function space. An added feature will be the creation of a roof terrace with spectacular views over London.
Great care has been taken to ensure all parts of the building are accessible with practically the whole of the ground floor being lowered to enable disabled access. Facilities for the hard of hearing, visual differentiation, disabled toilets on every floor and a special rest room enhance the inclusive environment.
Map of disabled access to the LSE campus please see: Finding your way around LSE