Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Swiss Cottage, London

Jestico & Whiles
Date Built
College Crescent near its junction with Finchley Road in Swiss Cottage
The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama lists among it illustrious alumni Sir Lawrence Olivier, Dame Judy Dench, and Vanessa Redgrave.  It was founded at the Royal Albert Hall in 1906 but moved to Swiss Cottage in 1956 to occupy the Embassy Theatre.  Over the years they have instigated a number of projects to upgrade existing buildings and add new ones.  This building, opened in 2005, is the latest addition.  The building's architects, Jestico and Whiles, say of it that, "The design responds to the school’s long term objectives of improving teaching facilities and consolidating them into a single campus, replacing existing temporary and disparate accommodation. The design is bold and creates a strong identity in a busy urban context.  The building’s large scale and striking form provides a presence both by day and night. ... Small windows to the street give pedestrians glimpses of the interior. Vertical alternating white glass with dark engineering brick, zinc cladding and distinctive render reinforce the bold features of the scheme. The design of the building has achieved a BREEAM rating of 'very good' ”.