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Seven years ago, LSE announced a competition to decide who would design the new student centre. Five companies were shortlisted and Irish architects O’Donnell and Tuomey eventually won. They went on to create the Saw Swee Hock Student Centre we see before us today, named after a generous benefactor.
Here are 7 things you may not have known about the building we love!
O’Donnell and Tuomey wanted to create a building with a similar feel to the buzzing Houghton Street. They dedicated the ‘totem pole’ through the centre as a poster space, to enable students to communicate.
Professor Saw received his PhD from LSE in 1963 and kindly donated £2 million towards the construction of the centre to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his graduation. It cost £24 million to build in total.
The hospital was originally used as a hospital for war refugees, before becoming a treatment centre for women who had suffered from ‘occasional lapses into immorality’ and contracted an STI!
This includes a number of ‘special bricks’ which were cast at angles, which can be seen at the front of the building. The perforated bricks create a sense of privacy (especially important for the gym and faith centre) while still allowing a view across campus and Lincoln’s Inn Fields. It also features two concrete spiral staircases, nicknamed the ‘baby elephant’ and the ‘fat elephant’ by the architects.
The building has a very high BREEAM (Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method) rating of ‘Excellence’, due to being carbon neutral, self-regulating temperature-wise and the fact that 90% of the waste generated by its construction was diverted from landfill.
The Saw Swee Hock Student Centre was named London Building of the Year in 2014 by the Royal Institute of British Architects, beating the Shard and was recently announced as a National award winner, too. LSE was named AJ100 Client of the Year in 2014 because of it.
It also won the 2012 New London Award (NLA) in the Education category for building design, and was shortlisted for the New London Awards 2014 (Civic Building Category), the Constructing Excellence Awards 2014 (Client of the Year) and the Building Construction Industry Awards (BCIA Building Project of the Year £10-£50m).
The Saw Swee Hock Student Centre isn’t the first building that O’Donnell and Tuomey have designed in London - they’re also behind the Photographers’ Gallery in Soho.
Congratulations to everyone who finished this week and is jetting off on a post-exam treat!
There are some amazing discounts on flights and holidays for students via StudentUniverse.
Hello! Our names are Ioana-Roxana and Maxine, and we are pleased to introduce ourselves as your new LSESU Advice Assistants!
In the following weeks, we will be around campus handing out information on housing, moving, exams, completing the year, financial support for next year, and loads more.
We will also be around at the remaining LSESU De-Stress Fest events, which runs till the end of term. If you see us in person, it would be great to talk - we can direct you towards all the help that the LSESU Advice Service can provide, some of which you might not know.
We will endeavour to help and make things as easy as possible for you, with everything being kept strictly confidential of course. We hope to see as many people as possible at the De-Stress Fest activities around campus!
Good luck with the rest of your exams! :)
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