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LSE campus transformed by new Saw Swee Hock Student Centre

The Saw Swee Hock Student Centre (SAW), the latest landmark building of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), has opened its doors with the LSE Students' Union taking residence of the £38m building this month.

The first new building LSE has commissioned in over 40 years, SAW's dramatic sculptural form and unusual perforated brick façade was designed by Irish architect O’Donnell + Tuomey.


Julian Robinson, Director of Estates at LSE, said: “Our aim, from the start of this project, has been to create the best students’ building in the UK, and I believe we have achieved this with the Saw Swee Hock Student Centre. It looks fantastic both inside and out, with its striking angles and superb use of a small but rich pallet of materials which have been beautifully crafted into an architectural tour de force. At night the building continues to delight becoming a glowing lantern. It will transform the student experience at LSE."

The centre's six floors now house the LSE Students’ Union (SU), LSE’s Careers, Residential Services and Accommodation Office. With a gym, exercise studio, bar and cafés, entertainment spaces, media centre and a 850 person night club/venue. SAW is set to become a focal point for students looking to study, socialise, work out or simply enjoy some down time.

Sustainability has been a key consideration from the start, with the building already achieving a BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ rating at the Design Stage.

SAWStone250x168The building also features a state of the art Faith Centre, open to staff and students of all faiths. The centre has been designed using the theme 'sacred desert’ and includes a large room for events, a social space, a quiet area for prayer and meditation, male and female Muslim prayer rooms, as well a space for prayer and religious worship, for interfaith dialogue and as a place for quiet reflection.

The Saw Swee Hock Student Centre is named after Professor Saw Swee Hock, an LSE alumnus who has had a long association with the School. An official opening of the building will be held in April 2014.


To request an interview with Julian Robinson and/or the architects of the Saw Swee Hock Student Centre, please contact: Jess Winterstein, LSE Press Office, 020 7955 7060, j.winterstein@lse.ac.uk  

Pictures are available upon request.


The Saw Swee Hock Student Centre (SAW) was officially handed over to LSE on 18 December 2013 and the LSE Students’ Union, LSE Careers, LSE Residential Services and Accommodation Office are already in up residence. Final snagging and building fit-out continues, alongside the pedestrianisation of Sheffield Street which commenced in January 2014.

SAW houses: The LSE Student’s Union (SU), Activities Resource Centre (ARC), SU bar the Three Tuns, The Denning Learning Café, The Weston Café, a Media Centre, Advice and counselling, a gym, dance and exercise studio as well as offices and events space. LSE Careers, LSE Residential Services - Accommodation Office, are also now in residence.

Pedestrianisation of Sheffield Street
Work on the pedestrianisation of Sheffield Street and public realm enhancement, also designed by ODT, began on 9 January 2014. The cost of the project will be circa £1.3m. and includes the installation of brick and yorkstone paving, feature lights, planting and street furniture. The planned completion date is early summer 2014.

30 January 2014