University of Westminster, Cavendish Campus, London

Lyons, Israel & Ellis
Date Built
New Cavendish Street
The architectural practice of Lyons, Israel and Ellis were appointed in 1962 to design a new College of Engineering and Science for the Regent Street Polytechnic (later to become the Polytechnic of Central London and now the University of Westminster).  However a number of significant delays resulted in a period of nine years passing before the buildings of the new college were officially opened by Lord Hailsham in 1971.

What is now referred to as the Cavendish Street Campus occupies quite a tight 1.34 acre site which came with limitations on the design of the building with reference to issues like daylight requirements.  A document from the university's archive points out that because of the requirements placed on the design, "The resulting building has no absolute physical divisions but is organised into four areas of function: a cranked seven storey laboratory block along Cleveland Street; a stepped five-storey tutorial block along New Cavendish Street; between them a circulation fulcrum which works vertically and horizontally, and, interlocking and interrelating, two lecture theatres; and fourth, a podium covering the heavy engineering labs and the car park."

In an article in the Architectural Review in January of 1971 Peter Nugent said of the building that, "... The result is powerful, idiosyncratic, angular, uncompromising and intense. The only pieces of the site unused, vertically and horizontally, are those sterilised by the byelaws. Otherwise the college rises sheerly from what seem narrow streets and a couple of themes are developed into a rich orchestration of architectural noises – the white concrete towers of circulation and splayed shapes of specialised rooms on the one hand and curtains of bronze framing on the other”

Close Window