King’s College London
Bush House, is a Grade II* listed building at the southern end of Kingsway between Aldwych and the Strand in London. Now part of the King’s College London Strand Campus, Bush House previously served as the headquarters of the BBC World Service. Constructed over a ten year period, starting in 1925, it was designed by American architect Harvey Wiley Corbett and is built from Portland stone. In 1929 Bush House was declared the ‘most expensive building in the world’, owing to its exceptional build cost at the time.
Since 2015 LTS Architects have been working alongside King’s College London to comprehensively refurbish and redevelop the South East Wing to provide a new central London Students’ Union over four floors of this prominent building. Accommodation comprises a licensed restaurant, entertainment venue at lower ground, landscaping to the central courtyard, offices, retail, activity spaces, a café, informal learning and social environments. Media spaces have dual functionality as learning and teaching spaces, with complex IT and AV configurations.
Extensive consultation with end-user groups resulted in a highly informed and detailed brief, allowing for efficient and focused development of the design. In countering the existing commercial environment, we took the approach that each space should be distinct and visually bold. The ground floor café was conceived as a ‘boardwalk’ with deckchairs, strings of lighting and a shack for the café, the 7th floor, a quiet learning area, became a labyrinth of private work areas, the 8th floor with light and views across London became the ‘internal’ meadow with growing areas and grassy carpets and the Vault was the gritty concrete basement for dancing and late nights.
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.