Keyworth Centre, London South Bank University

BDP Civil and Structural Engineering, London, 2003


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South corner 

Martine Hamilton Knight/BDP (website)     Download Original

  • South corner    
  • The atrium of the Keyworth Centre running alongside Keyworth Street, opposite other university buildings    
  • Open balcony overlooking the atrium in one of the timber towers    
  • Atrium    
  • Offices form part of the atrium    
  • View down atrium from upper floor    
  • Top two floors to the rear of the building – once considered for the school of architecture    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • First floor plan    
  • Fourth floor plan    
  • Eighth floor plan    
  • Section A-A    
  • Early cardboard model of the building’s main ideas    
  • Pod details    
  • Detail sections    

High-profile university teaching building with free-standing timber ‘pods’ within a large atrium

At nine storeys, the Keyworth Centre makes a dramatic gesture to the street with a glazed face fronting an atrium that runs the full height and most of the width of the building.

Internally, two sets of free-standing timber ‘pods’ with curved timber-clad walls are set symmetrically either side of the atrium. They are used for seminars and informal teaching; the storey-height spaces between them are enclosed with glass balustrades to form terraces which students can use as ‘break-out’ spaces, with views into the atrium and out through the glazed wall.

The facade is supported by timber props, and behind the glazing’s external metal cappings, the whole facade framing is a structural grillage of LVL (laminated veneer lumber).

The lobby is double-depth on ground and first floor, providing a space for students to gather. Above this double height setback, the south-west-facing atrium glazing is a source of daylight to teaching spaces on upper floors.

The typical upper floor plan has teaching rooms double-banked along a corridor at the rear, with the timber towers continue the teaching floorspace, connected at the lift lobbies.


  • Begun: Dec 2001
  • Completed: 2003
  • Floor area: 9,475m2
  • Sector: Education
  • Total cost: £17.2M
  • Procurement: Traditional 2-stage; JCT 98 with Contractors Design Portion
  • Address: Keyworth Street, London, SE1 6NG, United Kingdom

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