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A Royal opening and new focus for historic London building

HRH The Princess RoyalHRH The Princess Royal today (Monday 29 April) officially opened the newest landmark building of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), 32 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, previously known as the Land Registry building.

LSE is only the second owner of the Grade II listed building, which was built in 1903 as the Land Registry’s head office and is located on the largest garden square in London. It was purchased by LSE in 2010 for £37.7 million and renamed as 32 Lincoln’s Inn Fields (32LIF).

Designed by architects Jestico + Whiles at a cost of £17.5 million, 32LIF has been sympathetically renovated with a design that balances the historical aspects of the building with the modern demands of 21st century academia. After 25 months of planning and construction, the building is now home to LSE’s Department of Economics and six research centres and, with three lower floors of teaching and student activity areas including two Harvard lecture theatres, can cater to up to 1,000 students.

The Princess Royal, who is the Chancellor of the University of London (UoL), was met by LSE Chair Sir Peter Sutherland, LSE Director Professor Craig Calhoun and UoL Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Adrian Smith. She was given a tour of the newly opened building and was able to see it in operation as well as viewing a display on the research conducted by the academics based in the building. Her visit culminated in a reception, where she unveiled a plaque and met with LSE students and staff as well as others involved in its redesign and renovation.

HRH The Princess RoyalLSE Director Professor Craig Calhoun said: “LSE is a vibrant and exciting place to be and it was an honour to show HRH The Princess Royal around our newest working building. While we would be the first to admit that our campus has not always measured up to our academic reputation, we are always working to raise the bar. With 32LIF joining our flagship New Academic Building, and our forthcoming Saw Swee Hock Student Centre, I believe we can now justifiably be as proud of our estate as we are our academic reputation.”

The design approach for the new building was influenced by the property’s Grade II listing and its location within the Strand Conservation Area. A number of features have been retained, including the authentic brick facades and pitched slate roofscapes, which have traditional Dutch‐style gables with ornate turrets at each corner. The Chief Registrar’s Room has also been restored, and the main entrance hall, which possesses a number of period features such as mosaic terrazzo flooring, marble columns and decorative wooden panelling, has been enhanced. A new, single-storey glass and steel entrance pavilion has also been constructed to improve accessibility and provide the required secure entry and foyer space for a large number of students.

Julian Robinson, director of estates at LSE, said: “Our aim is to provide a world class setting for our students and we have worked closely with Jestico + Whiles to ensure that 32LIF works as an academic venue while maintaining its historical character. It is a pleasure to see the building being enjoyed by staff and students."

Tony Ling, director Jestico + Whiles, said: “We are delighted to have had this opportunity to work with LSE to transform the former Registry Building into a modern teaching and academic facility, in so doing providing a key addition to LSE’s campus and extending a new lease of life to this magnificent building."

Ends

For more information, and images of HRH The Princess Royal’s visit, contact:
LSE Press Office, 020 7955 7060, pressoffice@lse.ac.uk|  

Notes:

32LIF
32 Lincoln’s Inn Fields was purchased by LSE in 2010 for £37.7million with renovations costing £17.5 million. It opened its doors to the following departments and research centres in January 2013: Department of Economics, Centre for the Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE), Centre for Economic Performance (CEP), Centre for Macroeconomics, STICERD, SERC and the International Growth Centre.

Sustainability: The building was awarded a BREEAM Refurbishment ‘Very Good’ rating in October 2012. The Grade II listing of the building and the nature of the refurbishment has meant that “Very Good” is the highest rating achievable on this project.

Jestico + Whiles
Jestico + Whiles is an award winning architectural and interior design practice with offices in London and Prague.

Jestico + Whiles has grown steadily since the formation of the partnership by Tom Jestico and John Whiles in 1977, and in recent years the practice has undergone particularly rapid growth as it diversifies into a range of different sectors and builds on its reputation for design quality and innovative solutions to challenging briefs.
The practice has always been proud of the diversity in its workload, ranging from schools for disadvantaged children to University departments, hostels for the homeless to five-star boutique hotels and restaurants, master-planning of residential developments to the complete regeneration of inner city neighbourhoods, individual office fit outs to the building of corporate headquarters, designer shop interiors to complete retail malls and individual houses to high rise apartments.

The practice’s design reputation covers both new-build and the sensitive, contemporary, refurbishment of historic buildings. The ambition to bring design excellence to the rejuvenation of existing building stock exemplifies our commitment to sustainability and quality of design in all forms of construction. Our reputation for excellence is well established both nationally and internationally, with recent projects completed and ongoing in India, the Gulf, China and throughout Eastern Europe (Poland, Bratislava, Croatia, Latvia, Czech Republic, Romania).

29 April 2013

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