Institute of Education and School of Oriental & African Studies

Denys Lasdun & Partners, London, 1977


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The new buildings for London University seen from the precinct near the Russell Square entrance. The terraced wing which ‘buttresses’ the service tower is the only one of five so far built 

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  • The new buildings for London University seen from the precinct near the Russell Square entrance. The terraced wing which ‘buttresses’ the service tower is the only one of five so far built    
  • A corner of the SOAS building with Christ Church in the background before the spire was demolished    
  • The entrance to the precinct from Russell Square with the SOAS building on the left    
  • A glimpse of the wing from the east corner of the SOAS building    
  • The six-storey block on Bedford Way forms a protective wall to the precinct side. The view shows the relationship of the new block to the Cubitt terrace in Tavistock Square    
  • The split-level entrance hall of the Institute of Education. On the left is the entrance from the forecourt. The stairs lead down to the Great Hall    
  • The great hall underneath the forecourt to the main entrance of the Institute of Education    
  • The SOAS library is top-lit and inward-looking. It is surrounding by a cellular structure of small rooms looking outwards    
  • One of the teaching rooms at the end of the spine overlooking Russell Square    
  • Plan at main concourse level    
  • Block plan of Institute of Education, School of Oriental and African Studies, and proposed Courtauld Institute    
  • Cross section through Institute of Education and School of Oriental and African Studies    
  • Cut away axonometric of Institute of Education    
  • The west elevation facing Torrington Square of the proposed new building for the Courtauld Institute. On the left is the pre-war Warburg Institute and on the right the new building for SOAS which was the first to be constructed in the redevelopment    
  • South elevation of the proposed Courtauld Institute building with its two wings terraced down towards the new SOAS building    
  • A model showing the proposals by Denys Lasdun & Partners    
  • Sir Leslie Martin’s broad proposals for a new university precinct    
  • Proposals by Denys Lasdun & Partners showing the present state    
  • The latest proposals by Denys Lasdun & Partners seen in the context of the whole area    

The IOE consists of teaching accommodation clustered in the spine of the building, with large lecture theatres overlooking Woburn Square

Vertical circulation is by five cores containing lifts, stairs, lavatories and stores. The building is planned on a window module which is related to the structural grid to allow maximum flexibility in laying out teaching accommodation. An external concourse is the main form of horizontal circulation

SOAS is a hollow form enveloped by a cellular structure of small rooms looking outwards. The hollow form, the library, is a top-lit inward looking space surrounded by galleries. The main spine building parallel to Bedford Way is served by five vertical service and circulation cores. A total of 220 rooms are allocated to teaching staff, planned around the perimeter of the upper levels of the library.

A structure of in situ precast concrete and precast mullions with a cladding of prefabricated bronze-anodized aluminium panels and window sections. Both buildings lack decorative ornament and subtlety with Lasdun explaining that 'it is the form that is innately beautiful'.


  • Completed: 1977
  • Sector: Education
  • Address: Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London, WC1H 0AL, United Kingdom

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