Conference Sponsorship: NLA Londons Education Estates

Date posted: October 15, 2014

ArchitecturePLB enjoy delivering a diverse range of projects that provide settings for education from early years to adulthood. We are also currently working with a range of clients across the education sector, supporting them in carrying out strategic appraisals of their estates to ensure that they will support rapidly changing future provision. This gives us a distinct perspective on education estates; sponsorship of an NLA education conference was an exciting opportunity to use our experience to assist in developing a rich programme covering the wide diversity education estates in London.

Our aim was to help shape a conference that would stand out from the crowd by generating discussion about some of the crossover issues for all education estates rather than focus on the School, Further and Higher education silo’s that often constrain discussion of wider reaching issues. We were not disappointed, a range of interesting presentations were followed by panel discussion, the wide ranging topics generated fascinating debate chaired by Professor Philip Ogden from Queen Mary University.

ArchitecturePLB Director Rachel Shaw kicked off the conference with a presentation putting forward the need for London’s education estates to move from being distinct and separate to overlapping, sharing facilities between institutions and inviting the public in. Rachel described a ‘blue skies’ vision for mixed use residential and education estates which would extend the blurring boundaries of the campus further still. Mairi Johnson, Global Education Sector Leader at AECOM followed with some similar themes noting that budget cuts have lead to the need for a ‘radical rethink in how we deliver public services.’

Andrew Granger, Director of Estates, UCL and Ian Caldwell, Director of Space Management at Kings College presented exciting future strategies to cater for growth and improve student experience in their HE Estates. Nicola Townsend, London Borough of Croydon and Oliver Milton of Hawkins Brown provided different viewpoints, a local authority and architect’s perspective on how London’s schools can expand to cater for the growing population. Jayne Bird from Nicholas Hare Architects presented current themes across school and higher education estates and Matt Oakley from Savills concluded the conference with interesting commentary on rented space in the capital for education estates.

The conference also featured on UCL’s website and was written up for NLA by David Taylor