LDS completes student housing and research facility in Olympic Park

In addition to student accommodation, Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands’ One Pool Street combines multi-disciplinary research labs, a lecture theatre that doubles as a cinema, an art studio, shop and café, together with spaces intended to explore ecological and urban issues with local communities.

The scheme is positioned by the River Lea in the south of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, near to the London Aquatics Centre and ArcelorMittal Orbit. The new UCL East campus forms part of the East Bank, the education and culture hub being developed along the edge of the park, which by 2025 will include a new home for UAL’s London College of Fashion, Sadler’s Wells East, the V&A East Museum and BBC Music Studios, relocated from Maida Vale.


The highly articulated, shaded façades of the two towers of OPS are designed to prevent overheating and to break down the wind forces blowing across the park.

Inside, in addition to student housing, OPS is home to a range of UCL schools and activities including Robotics and Autonomous Systems, a People and Nature Lab and facilities for the School for Creative and Cultural Industries and The Bartlett.


The building’s layout is intended to encourage collaboration and cross-disciplinary working, with a publicly accessible top-lit atrium, off which three-storeys of flexible space open, which can be used for academic programming, public engagement and community activities. A third-floor landscaped roof terrace offers views across the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, with outdoor labs for studying ecology and the environment and helping to enhance biodiversity.

Student rooms are arranged in clusters and served by shared living spaces, with layouts designed for easy reconfiguration if the use of the building needs to change. There is provision for 407 bicycles and facilities for cyclists, with car parking only provided for Blue Badge holders and essential services.


Architect’s view

It’s a very outward-looking building. It has this terrific ‘fluid zone’ that blurs the edges of what’s private and what’s public, what’s academic and what’s of wider public interest. It was a highly rewarding brief, with UCL allowing us an architectural starting point to create an open building that includes everyone. So, the building speaks of what it is: exploratory, inclusive, joyful, aware of its world and how we can be kinder to people and the environment, and it’s fun – it’s a building you will never get bored in.
Douglas Inglis, director and One Pool Street project lead, LDS


Client’s view

Working with local communities will be central to the activity on our new UCL East campus. We will be bringing together scientists, students, the public, business and industry to explore topics ranging from robotics and AI to health, urbanisation, disability and sustainability, inviting people from east London to collaborate with us. One Pool Street has been designed to facilitate a wide range of learning and co-production opportunities that we believe will drive innovation, discovery and creativity to new levels.
Professor Paola Lettieri FREng, pro-provost, UCL East


Designed by Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, One Pool Street is an outstanding facility for our staff and students to work and live in and for everyone from the local area to visit and explore. It is informed by great design and a superb build. Nowhere else will you find cutting edge labs and workshops combining so powerfully with landscaped terraces and planting areas, alongside an art studio, cinema, shop, café, public engagement spaces and student accommodation. Both inside and out, it is a tremendous asset to UCL and our capacity to drive research that transforms lives.
Nawed Khan, senior project manager, UCL East


Source:Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands

Project data

Start on site 2019
Completion End 2022
Gross internal floor area 13,817 Sqm (GIA) of student Accommodation; 5,011 Sqm (GIA) of Academic; 198 Sqm (GIA) of Retail
Gross (external) floor area Student accommodation 15,494 Sqm (GEA) Academic 5,403m (GEA), Retail 226m2
Form of contract JCT Design and Build
Construction cost Undisclosed
Architect Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands
Client UCL
Structural engineer AKT II
M&E consultant Hilson Moran
QS Aecom
Landscape consultant Bradley Hole Schoenaich LA
Acoustic consultant Cole Jarman
Project manager WSP PB and Turner Townsend
Principal designer PFB
Main contractor Vinci
CAD software used MicroStation/AECOsim