Queen Mary, University of London has announced plans for a visionary £36m Graduate Centre at its Mile End campus, to coincide with a 125th anniversary celebration for the College this year.
Permission has been granted for the building of a Centre comprising teaching and office space, accommodation, 24-hour IT provision, lecture theatres, reading and common rooms, a cafeteria and under-cover winter garden.
The structure could be ready as early as January 2015 at the Mile End Anniversary Site, behind the Queens’ Building on the site of the recently-demolished Chemistry building.
Some 123 en-suite residential rooms and one-bed flats are to be built, and the space will provide teaching and learning space for all students, as well as offices, teaching rooms, a mock trading floor and an IT lab for the School of Economics and Finance.
An atrium linking the Engineering Building and People’s Palace will provide cover for a winter garden, enhancing both student facilities and the commercial appeal of the site to external organisations and individuals planning functions and events. Associated improvement works will also take place to the facades of the historic People’s Palace and the Queens’ Building.
Queen Mary’s Principal, Professor Simon Gaskell, says: “Queen Mary has set ambitious plans for growth and sustainability, under which comes this new project. Investment in an outstanding Graduate Centre will improve the experience and resources for postgraduate students, particularly those in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, but it will also improve the already award-winning Mile End campus for the whole Queen Mary community.
“One of QM’s core objectives is a thriving postgraduate population, and the number of postgraduate students studying at the College has risen rapidly in recent years. The Graduate Centre will allow us to continue with this expansion and maintain the College’s distinctive place amongst London universities. Our postgraduates keep QM at the forefront of research excellence and are our next generation of leading academics. This investment will allow us to continue attracting some of the best and brightest minds to QM,” he adds.
The design of the Graduate Centre will significantly contribute to the College’s Carbon Strategy as the scheme will include a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant, also servicing eight other buildings on campus. CHP plants produce electricity using a gas engine and also provide a large amount of heat as a by-product, delivering 30 per cent of Queen Mary’s total carbon reduction target by 2015.
Queen Mary has seen an increase in postgraduate applications across a range of disciplines, particularly in Economics and Finance. The Graduate Centre will accommodate and provide for these students, supporting their professional careers and increasing the amount of tailored learning space available. It will add to the new post-graduate area in the main Library and the existing Lock-keeper’s Cottage graduate facilities.
The transfer of postgraduate teaching to the new Centre will also allow a further expansion of the undergraduate student population, from both within and outside the EU, and free space in other buildings for administrative services.
The announcement comes during preparations for a significant 125th anniversary for Queen Mary. In 1887 Queen Victoria opened the People's Palace on the site of what is now the Queens’ Building. The opening of this educational establishment therefore marked the beginning of the College's Mile End campus.
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