24th June 2004

The Queen opens Tanaka Business School at Imperial College London

Her Majesty The Queen officially opened the newly-built Tanaka Business School at Imperial College London today. The Queen was accompanied by His Royal Highness The Duke of York.

Funded by a 25 million donation from technology investor and Imperial alumnus Dr Gary Tanaka of Amerindo Investment Advisors Inc, this landmark building creates a highly-visible entrance to the College on Exhibition Road, London SW7.

The Business School's new home, designed by international architecture studio Foster and Partners, includes a striking stainless steel drum housing a vertical stack of interactive lecture theatres, a multi-purpose Forum Area, enclosed study spaces, café and breakout area. All behind a grand colonnade announcing its presence on Exhibition Road.


The Queen and The Duke were greeted at the entrance of Tanaka Business School by Sir Richard Sykes, Rector of Imperial College, who introduced members of the Tanaka family and Lord Foster. Principal Professor David Begg then led a tour of Tanaka Business School that included a visit to a lecture theatre where David Miles and students discussed the mortgage industry, and exhibits of some of Imperials research projects and spin-out ventures.

Welcoming Her Majesty, Sir Richard said:
The building in which we now stand represents another step in bringing to fruition the far-sighted vision and wisdom of your ancestor, Prince Albert. Far ahead of his time, he recognised that people would live better, in a more prosperous country, if art and science were properly directed to useful purposes.

Lord Foster and his colleagues have designed a building in which students and staff from all disciplines can interact. It is this interaction which will produce the discoveries of the future. We strive to maintain our excellence in science. We are continually seeking to update our science and this, of course, means we have to update our facilities.

This building, I believe, has also restored grandeur to this part of Exhibition Road. Indeed, it has been likened to the original Crystal Palace, which housed the Great Exhibition of 1851.

I am delighted to pay tribute to a 21st century philanthropist our alumnus, Dr Gary Tanaka. We are here to celebrate his magnificent gift and the creation of our Business school, so aptly named after him.

Before departing, The Queen and The Duke met Imperial guests, staff and students at a reception in the building atrium where The Queen unveiled a plaque commemorating their visit.

The Queen is Visitor of Imperial College London. She last visited the College in 1998 when she opened the Sir Alexander Fleming Building, also designed by Foster and Partners. The Duke of York attended in his capacity as the UK's Special Representative for Trade and Investment.

Photographs and film of the opening are available on request.

As Project Managers, we were delighted to lead this outstanding project team from the concept stage to the delivery of this fantastic signature building. The Project required all the resourcefulness and ingenuity of the consultant team and specialist contractors to come up with a visually stunning building using groundbreaking materials and techniques whilst working within a clearly defined budget and programme. The project ethos was one of collaboration and shared responsibility from the outset and it is heartening that this philosophy still prevailed on completion.

Nick Mather from Gardiner & Theobald Management Services