Kingston University has shortlisted six practices as it moves a step nearer to 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.

 The University has been working with RIBA Competitions, which helped it appoint Grafton Architects to design its Stirling Prize and Mies van der Rohe Award-winning Town House building, to select a team to develop concepts for the site. It received 60 expressions of interest following the launch of a design contest in July and has shortlisted Carmody Groarke, Caruso St John Architects, Grafton Architects, Hall McKnight, Haworth Tompkins, and Reiach and Hall to progress to the next stage of the selection process.

 Each team shortlisted is led by architects and includes civil and structural engineers, building services engineers and landscape designers. They will be invited to expand on their initial submissions during the next phase of the process, ahead of the successful candidate being announced early in 2023.

 Kingston University vice-chancellor Professor Spier said the high calibre of practices expressing an interest in the project matched the University’s vision and ambition for the future. “At Kingston University, we firmly believe that world-class architectural design helps drive educational quality and innovation,” he said.

“Our new long-term strategy bears the name of our internationally acclaimed Mies van der Rohe Award and RIBA Stirling Prize-winning Town House and embodies our commitment to embedding creativity, innovation and future skills at the heart of our student’s education. The successful multi-disciplinary design team will play a pivotal role in helping us realise our aspiration to create a building that will benefit generations of students, staff and the wider borough community.”

 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 nationally and internationally. It is currently working on 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 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.


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