School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies, UCL, London

Short and Associates
Date Built
University College London, Taviton Street
When the School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies joined University College London in 1999 steps were taken to bring the SSEES, " ... as close as possible to the centre of UCL."  Among the steps taken was the conversion of a university car park in Taviton Street into a new building, designed by Short and Associates.  This provided the SSEES with a single site for all of its activities for the first time in its history.

The building was constructed on a site that Short and Associates describe as, " ... extremely complicated; the last vacant site within the UCL campus, and in the Bloomsbury Conservation Area. Taviton Street contains several listed Georgian terraces, a distinctive urban form that has been eroded somewhat by subsequent layers of development. An existing electrical sub-station, fuel and district heating line connected to the Chemistry Building passed through the site, and delivery access and escape routes had to be maintained to adjoining buildings.."

The new building, " ... has a hybrid environmental strategy, naturally ventilated all year and passively cooled through the summer months but engaging down-draught cooling via a central lightwell through periods of summer peak temperatures."  The prominent chimneys play an important role in the ventilation of the building.

Rising symmetrically on either side of the central entrance is a procession of windows marking the route of twin staircases.  Edward Jones and Christopher Woodward, in their book A Guide to the Architecture of London, say of the building that, "Its character is not normal to London but, true to its brief, it would not be out of place in Zagreb."  The Brick Development Association gave the building its Award for The Best Public Building in 2006 saying that, "Brick is used aesthetically, structurally and environmentally in this important academic building. The judges enjoyed the well-crafted mass brickwork façade and were impressed by brick’s important role in the building’s passive cooling strategy, particularly in the wonderful Gaudi-esque brick stair hall which is designed to temper internal temperatures."