Despite the scale of UCL’s estate, the University lacked good quality collegiate external space. Through their masterplan, an opportunity was identified to create a new courtyard terrace above an existing service yard to the rear of the Wilkins Building, UCL’s original home, to provide a new high quality piece of public realm for both staff and students.
We developed the idea of enclosing the services yard as an undercroft, allowing the external space above to become the new amenity for a variety of uses. This is conceived as a contemporary, high quality, stone landscaped terrace set within the historic courtyard. As well as being split level with a new lift and grand staircase, this also creates new routes across the campus, bringing activity where previously there was very little. A new ‘fourth façade’ completes the classical courtyard composition to the east and conceals the plethora of services required for the existing buildings and the new lower refectory. Constructed using Portland Stone and designed to classical Georgian proportions, it is a contemporary interpretation of the surrounding historic architecture and helps to tie all the courtyard elements together.