Kingston University has commenced the process of appointing a design team to help develop ideas for a proposed academic building and other improvements at the Middle Mill site next to Knights Park.

Although still in the very early stages of planning, it is envisaged the proposed building would see an increase in the amount of studio-based teaching space and technical support facilities available to students completing courses at Kingston School of Art.

The University is keen to ensure design concepts reflect the creative character and high quality of education and innovation for which Kingston School of Art is renowned, both nationally and internationally. It is currently working to a timeline that, depending on a successful planning application, would see a proposed building ready for use during the 2029-30 academic year.

The project has the potential to provide Kingston School of Art students and staff with a stronger single campus community identity, while it is hoped the site could also become an asset for the wider borough. Landscaping and other improvements to surrounding public spaces would be in keeping with the location’s close connection to Knights Park and relationship to the Hogsmill River.

The University is again working with RIBA Competitions, who helped appoint Grafton Architects to design the Stirling Prize and Mies van der Rohe Award-winning Town House at Penrhyn Road, to select a multi-disciplinary team to lead this project. Following a call for initial expressions of interest, a shortlist of five teams, led by architects and also made up of civil and structural engineers, building services engineers and landscape designers, will be drawn up later this year. The successful team from that shortlist is expected to be announced early in 2023.

The University is committed to keeping staff, students, its immediate neighbours and the wider borough community fully updated as plans progress. There will be a number of consultation and engagement opportunities for students, staff, neighbouring residents and the wider borough to find out more about the proposals and share feedback following the design team’s appointment next year and the subsequent development of its initial concepts.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Steven Spier said the proposals had the potential to further enhance the experience of students, staff and visitors to Kingston School of Art’s Knights Park campus, following the regeneration of studio and workshop space in its RIBA London and Client of the Year award-winning Mill Street Building. “At Kingston University, we firmly believe that world-class architectural design drives educational innovation,” Professor Spier said. “This has not only been evidenced by the accolades we have received for the Mill Street Building, but also through our 2021 RIBA Stirling Prize and EU Mies van der Rohe Award-winning Town House building at the Penrhyn Road campus.

“Exceptional buildings have a transformative impact on students, staff and the wider community alike, providing a stimulating and inspiring environment in which creativity, collaboration and shared learning thrive.”

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