School of Management

This landmark project created UCL’s new School of Management (SoM) on Level 50 of One Canada Square: the top floor of Canary Wharf’s most iconic tower building.

SoM’s new home is at the centre of London’s financial and business heartland. Location was paramount for the client, and drove the decision to repurpose existing commercial office space as opposed to building new facilities on UCL’s central London campus. The project has transformed a tired office space into a vibrant education facility suitable for post-graduate and executive education. It has also enabled the SoM to more easily foster relationships with leading business and financial organisations.

The design provides space for individual and group study, academic offices, and hosts additional facilities including lecture rooms, and a student social hub. These spaces are accessed from a connecting communal street, which forms a magnet for serendipitous interaction.

An innovative student workplace

The brief was developed by working closely with the SoM management team and UCL Estates. It was vital that the learning spaces provided acoustic and technological excellence - at a level equivalent to that of a new-build. This was an academic requirement, and would help attract executives from nearby companies.

The primary teaching spaces are the Lecture Theatre, which has raked seating for 100 students, and the Executive Education Suite, a flat-floor collaborative learning space for up to 85 students. Both possess sophisticated acoustics, audio-visual provision, and remote learning capabilities. They are, for example, Lecturecast and Zoom-enabled, thus allowing students - or other teaching spaces - to join lectures remotely.

Providing learning spaces with excellent acoustic facilities, within an existing office building, presented a particular challenge; attention was therefore paid to services routes and sealing effectively around penetrations.

…Fabulous…. Fabulous building…. Fabulous team. Congratulations all.
Professor David Price, UCL Vice-Provost (Research)

Transformative retrofit: salvage & re-use

Level 50 had an existing office fit-out: a mixture of open-plan and cellular offices for the insurance company MetLife. Rather than consign the previous fit-out to the skip, a pre-refurbishment audit was undertaken to explore whether existing architectural elements and building services could be re-used. Considerable success was achieved: 195 square metres of full-height laminated glazing were re-used in new partitions; 49 walnut doors were salvaged; and 771 square metres of metal, acoustic ceiling tiles were saved. Salvaged elements were carefully dismantled, surveyed, and stored on a vacant floor of the building, 29 levels below, with the design developed to incorporate these components.

This innovative re-use of existing components has significantly reduced the project's embodied carbon. It has also enabled the client to retain high-quality materials that enhance the new accommodation, at relatively low cost. The project has achieved the highest "gold" SKA rating in the RICS Higher Education Scheme.

I wanted to thank you and your entire team for doing such an amazing job. It looks absolutely brilliant; it is amazing to see what your team can achieve with a relatively modest budget. This addition to our estate will be a real game-changer for the UCL School of Management.
Bert De Reyck, Director UCL School of Management

Our Team

Project Team

  • Client: University College London
  • Project Management: Gardiner & Theobald
  • Cost Planning: Aecom
  • Services Engineer: BuroHappold
  • Acoustics: BuroHappold
  • Fire Engineer: Arup
  • Structural Engineer: Conisbee
  • SKA Assessor: Rider Levett Bucknall
  • Branding: Studio Blackburn
  • Contractor: Canary Wharf Contractors
  • Photography: Alan Williams


  • Shortlisted: Building Awards, Refurbishment Project of the Year