Architecture competition launched to design LSE’s first zero-carbon building

By Stan Masters

LSE recently launched a competition for an architectural team to design its first zero-carbon building.

The new building will be situated at 35 Lincoln’s Inn Fields and will be the last project of its kind for the foreseeable future. 

The construction will follow a series of campus developments over the last decade, including the Saw Swee Hock Student Centre, the Centre Building, and the Marshall Building, which was completed at the end of 2021. Working in conjunction with the Royal Institute of British Architects, the project has a £120 million budget, less than but similar to the budgets of the Centre Building (circa £125 million) and the Marshall Building (circa £145 million).

The new building will house an array of facilities, including teaching rooms, lecture theatres, a 350-capacity ‘agora’ conference theatre, faculty accommodation, and support facilities such as catering. It will also be occupied by the Firoz Lalji Institute for Africa, which first received funding in November 2021.

The construction will be made with environmental sustainability in mind, with energy efficiency and carbon minimisation being fundamental aspects of its identity. It will be a zero net carbon building, considering both embodied and operational carbon.

The process of determining who will win the competition is already underway, with the first stage of phase one having ended on 21 January. The next step will involve a jury that includes Director Baroness Shafik, LSE Director of Estates Julian Robinson, Professor Ricky Burdett, Students’ Union General Secretary Josie Stephens and Firoz Lalji, an ex-student and now an IT entrepreneur who is sponsoring the project. This jury will meet and select a shortlist on the week commencing 7 February, and those who are successful and unsuccessful will be notified the following week. 

LSE has previously worked on projects with high-profile and successful architects. The Saw Swee Hock Student Centre, which opened in 2014, was designed by Irish architects O’Donnell and Tuomey. It was awarded the RIBA London Building of the Year Award in 2014 and shortlisted for the Stirling Prize. Meanwhile, the Centre Building, which was completed in mid-2019, was designed by renowned architects Roger Stirk Harbour + Partners.

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