SOAS and the Great Glass Roof

By northblock|May 15, 2015|Glass Roof, North Block, Senate House|0 comments

If there’s one thing the Sistine Chapel’s taught us it’s to cast our eyes upwards once in a while; impressive roofs are everywhere from the architectural splendour of the Sydney Opera House to the feat of engineering above Wimbledon’s Court 1. And the North Block is to be no exception. The focal point of the new development will undoubtedly be the unique double-curvature glass roof over the central courtyard of

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I’m sticking with you…

By northblock|March 20, 2015|Flooring, Magnets, New technology, North Block, Senate House|0 comments

When devising innovative solutions to construction conundrums, SOAS is poles apart from other design and build projects. This week – magnets. In construction, the floor is usually one of the first things to be finished – which makes sense because otherwise the contractors would have to jetpack around the building site. However, once the floor has been laid, it has to be fitted with a protective covering to avoid the

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Batteries not included

By northblock|March 6, 2015|Drone technology, Filming, North Block, Senate House|0 comments

Two cameras, a tripod and a remote control drone. Not what you’d expect to find on an ordinary construction site. But there’s nothing ordinary about a SOAS construction site. Last week, SOAS took to the skies, or rather a drone did, to capture shots of the North Block building and people hard at work. The drone reached lofty heights of 15m, hovering like a helicopter to take shots of the

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Ten Steps to a BREEAM-Y New Building.

By northblock|February 20, 2015|Awards, BREEAM, Carbon, Cycle Storage, Environment, Glass Roof, Green Project, North Block, Rainwater Harvester, Senate House, Sustainability, University of London|0 comments

There is a buzzword in building these days – a green, faintly fishy word. BREEAM. It’s an acronym for an international, sustainable standard of construction: the altogether less memorable, Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method. At SOAS – as anyone who studies or teaches here will know – we care about the environment. And over the last few years the School has set itself the goal of being greener. We’ve

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And then there were light fittings…

By northblock|January 7, 2015|Architecture, Charles Holden, North Block, Senate House|0 comments

How often do you notice a skirting board, or comment on how beautiful a light fitting is? Probably not often. These features are not exactly the most prominent parts of a room, nor do they usually inspire much interest. But for the Senate House development, every detail – no matter how small – must be carefully considered to ensure it is in-keeping with the heritage and style of the building.

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An Interview with Henry Armstrong: Project Manager at Graham Construction

By northblock|November 27, 2014|Glass Roof, Graham Construction, North Block|0 comments

Can you give us an outline of the project as a whole – what are the various stages of the regeneration going to include? We are doing a complete refurbishment of the North Block of Senate House. We’re stripping out all the non-original partition walls, reinstating original and new floor finishes and upgrading and replacing the ceiling finishes. We’ll be totally re-wiring the North Block, with new electrical and plumbing

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Everything I do…

By northblock|November 13, 2014|Car Park, Criminal, Filming, Kevin Costner, North Block, Senate House|0 comments

While it’s not strictly related to the North Block Project, you might be interested to hear that the North Block car park has a newly acquired claim to fame. On 26th October, it played host to Kevin Costner’s trailer when the bright lights of Hollywood descended on the SOAS library for the filming of Criminal, an American-English action thriller set for release in August 2015. Now there’s something to mention

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We couldn’t have done it without: Mace

By northblock|November 10, 2014|Awards, BREEAM, Brunel, Emirates Air Line, Green Project, Kingston, Mace, North Block, Olympics, Senate House, The Shard|0 comments

SOAS was on to a winner when Mace was selected to provide project management and initial design services to the North Block Project back in August 2012. They’re the contracting world’s biggest over-achievers – green and squeaky clean – with a bursting trophy cabinet to prove it. Mace has won Building Magazine’s Major Contractor of the Year seven times straight. And this year they added the Women in Construction Award

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We couldn’t have done it without: Charles Holden (1875–1960)

By northblock|October 20, 2014|Architecture, Charles Holden, North Block, Senate House, University of London|0 comments

Senate House and its unmistakable facade was the vision of a quietly ambitious, Bolton-born architect called Charles Holden. Without him, the famous library might have looked quite paltry by comparison. In fact Holden’s initial vision for the University of London in 1931 was for something even bigger – a colossal structure with towers at both ends and a long central spine adjoined by a number of wings. The University turned

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