Student Union, Bush House, The Strand

Health & Education

Bush House is a Grade II* listed building in London, previously serving as the BBC World Service headquarters. Designed by Harvey Wiley Corbett and constructed from 1925 to 1935, it was once considered the world's most expensive building. LTS Architects refurbished the South East Wing of Bush House to create a new Students' Union, offering various amenities and distinctive spaces. Sustainability was prioritized, and the design aligns with the College's ambitions. 

King’s College London
London, UK
£7 million


    1. Photographer Craig Sheppard
    2. Undercroft Contractor Paragon
    3. South East Wing Contractor Overbury
    4. Enabling Works Contractor Deconstruct
    5. Structural Engineer Ross & Partners
    6. M&E Engineer Hilson Moran
    7. PM Leadlease
    8. CDM Coordinator Turner & Townsend
    9. Heritage Consultant Alan Baxter
    10. Quantity Surveyor Gardiner & Theobald
    11. Lighting Designers Hoare Lea
    12. Fire Consultant Hoare Lea

Bush House in London, located between Aldwych and the Strand, is a Grade II* listed building. It currently forms part of the King’s College London Strand Campus and was previously the headquarters of the BBC World Service. Designed by American architect Harvey Wiley Corbett, construction of Bush House took place over a ten-year period starting in 1925. Made of Portland stone, the building was declared the ‘most expensive building in the world’ in 1929 due to its high build cost at the time.

The South East Wing of Bush House underwent an extensive refurbishment and remodelling by LTS Architects to create a new central London Students’ Union. Spanning four floors, the Students’ Union offers various amenities including a licensed restaurant, entertainment venue, landscaped central courtyard, offices, retail spaces, activity areas, a café, informal learning spaces, and social environments. The media spaces within the Union serve as both learning and teaching spaces, equipped with complex IT and AV configurations.

The design process involved thorough consultation with end-user groups, resulting in a well-informed and detailed brief. This approach facilitated efficient development of the design, taking into consideration the existing commercial environment. Each space within the Students’ Union was designed to have a distinct and visually striking identity. For instance, the ground floor café was conceptualized as a ‘boardwalk’ with deckchairs, string lights, and a shack serving as the café. The 7th floor, designated as a quiet learning area, was transformed into a labyrinth of private workspaces. The 8th floor, with ample natural light and views of London, was turned into an ‘internal’ meadow with growing areas and grassy carpets. The Vault, located in the basement, was designed as a gritty concrete space for dancing and late-night activities.

The Students’ Union’s commitment to sustainability aligned with LTS Architects’ values. The design scheme was reviewed against the WELL standard, with careful selection of materials and finishes to minimize embodied carbon and internal pollution. The spaces within the Students’ Union effectively embody the creativity, vibrancy, and inclusiveness of the Union itself. With this project’s completion, the Students’ Union now has outstanding facilities that match the College’s location, prominence, and future ambitions. Bush House is prepared for its new life and its new occupants.

The SU’s passion for a sustainable build aligned with our own and as such the scheme was reviewed against the WELL standard. All materials and finishes were chosen to minimise their embodied carbon and their impact on internal pollution. The series of spaces reflect the creativity, vibrancy and inclusiveness of the Students’ Union and so in delivering world-class facilities for the Students’ Union, commensurate with the College’s location, prominence and future ambitions, Bush House is now equipped for the course of its new life and its new occupants.