The new Imperial College Business School acts as an entrance to Imperial College’s South Kensington campus on Exhibition Road. The project marks a continuation of the Masterplan undertaken by Foster + Partners in the early 1990’s and the fourth project by the practice on the campus. The new home for the School was made possible by a donation from alumnus Gary Tanaka.
Sitting amongst existing 1960’s institutional buildings and the Grade II listed Royal School of Mines, the Imperial College Business School houses both teaching and research/office space. The School has been divided into two parts, the teaching element is within a purpose built new facility, and the office areas within three refurbished floors of the existing Royal School of Mines.
The entire new-build element, together with a new College entrance, is cloaked in a protective envelope, creating a year round usable atrium space within. The base of this atrium space contains a social Forum space which is the social hub of the new School. Out of the Forum space rises a dramatic six-storey stainless steel drum containing circular lecture theatres which are based on the interactive Harvard Business School model. The vertical arrangement both ensures inhabitants of the existing building behind are not adversely affected, whilst also providing access to the upper floors of office accommodation in the Royal School of Mines.
The adjacent ground level entrance space serves as a new ‘front door’ for the college and provides exhibition space creating a new shop window for the college and a chance to showcase its achievements in the fields of science, technology and medicine.