We're pretty certain that when Schmidt Hammer Lassen designed the new City of Westminster College campus building, they knew the airy and light-filled central atrium would be used for many a flash mob. In fact on opening day, students of the college celebrated their new energy efficient building with a flash mob dance. Located in West London, the flagship campus building was designed to to minimize power use and impact on the local environment.
Schmidt Hammer Lassen won the award to design the sustainable campus building back in 2006 and recently completed it in 2010. The campus was built in accordance with the GLA’s initiative to “Be Lean, Be Clean, Be Green” as well as BREEAM’s framework for the Further Education sector. Built to be an adaptable and flexible for the 21st century, the college has many diverse architectural spaces that encourage new ways of learning. The seven story building also includes an exhibition area, a theatre and a café, which encourage community participation.
Goals for the building included minimal energy use, reduced building maintenance costs and a low carbon footprint. To achieve these goals, a comprehensive sustainability strategy was designed that includes a façade that minimizes solar gain to create a light and open environment with translucent fins on the east and west façade that provide external solar shading. The building’s shape, which is stepped and cantilevered on the south façade, provides solar shading and an ETFE air cushion covers the atrium at roof level and provides insulation.
The central atrium continues up through the entire building, pulling in daylight from the roof and visually connecting all of the floors together (perfect place for a flash mob). The building is covered in green roofs that harvest rainwater, which is used along with recycled greywater in the building. Natural ventilation and stack affect from the central atrium help pull in fresh air to the building.
Images ©Schmidt Hammer Lassen