Kingston University unveils plans for new landmark building inspired by 'open door policy'

Kingston University and Grafton have unveiled plans for a new landmark building on the Penrhyn Road campus

The striking building as seen from the side, looking towards Penrhyn Road

First published in News
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Surrey Comet: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy editor

A bold new vision to create a landmark building for both students and the public has been revealed by Kingston University.

Plans to replace the Town House on the Penrhyn Road campus with a striking, open-plan mixed-use building have been unveiled by architects Grafton, ahead of a public exhibition starting tomorrow.

Drawings released today show a light coloured, multi-level structure, with the current car park at the front of the campus replaced by a new public space opening out onto Penrhyn Road.

The building will act as a main reception for all the university's campuses, and offering dance and theatre space, library resources and study areas.

The as-yet-unnamed building will not be faculty-specific, and will be completely open to all students and members of the public.

At a press briefing at the Town House today, Grafton's Shelley McNamara said the idea of the building being open to everyone was a key feature in the design.

Surrey Comet:

Inside the ground floor of the building

Surrey Comet:

An artist's impression of the second floor

She said: "What we found amazing about the brief was the idea of making the building open to students and the community.

"The whole open door policy we found fantastic.

"The brief was to make a welcoming, open building with a mix of uses. Not just learning and studying, but performance, dance and project space.

"We've tried to make a building that does all of that, which doesn't have walls, or barriers or gates, but does the opposite."

At its highest, the building is six storeys tall, dropping to three and four floors on the side facing residents in Grove Crescent.

Grass will be grown on several of the roofs, enhancing the building's sustainablility as well as making it more attractive to look at for those living nearby.

Surrey Comet:

The new building will feature performance space, including an auditorium, which can be viewed from all floors

Surrey Comet:

A bird's eye view of the new building

Kingston University Students' Union president Denza Gonsalves said: "When they showed us the top five designs, Grafton's was the one I wanted.

"As soon as I saw the design, I thought I would be really proud to be a part of this university and study there.

"Kingston is top for producing student entrepreneurs. This idea of being open to collaboration, new ideas and working together has always been the essence of the university and that is embodied in this design.

What do you think? Leave your comments below or email letters@surreycomet.co.uk

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