University of East London

Water Lane, Stratford

Metropolitan Workshop has received planning permission for a major redevelopment of part of University of East London’s (UEL) Stratford Campus at Water Lane. The new buildings will ‘complete’ the historic campus, replacing a vacant brownfield site and temporary lecture theatres with teaching and learning facilities and high-quality student accommodation. These proposals also allow for a rethink of the landscape amenity spaces and how the university connects to the surrounding streetscape, making it more open and accessible.

This project responds to the burgeoning demand for higher education places in London, catering for critical areas of health and key worker vocational courses at the Stratford Campus. The proposed development seeks to reinvigorate the existing site, providing on-campus living for the first time with the provision of an exemplar student village supported by new shared facilities and high-quality teaching space.

Located immediately to the northeast of the Grade II* Listed University House, the new development will include student accommodation (650 bedrooms, 10% of which will be wheelchair accessible), shared living spaces, 4,200 sq ft of new teaching and learning space, a wellness centre, a teaching nursery, as well as a significant new public realm improvements. This will all be contained around a new quadrangle of buildings that step down from 16 storeys to 3 storeys.

The design of the new buildings respond to the character of the historic buildings (University House and Edward Passmore Museum) and the adjacent Library and teaching buildings by Michael Hopkins and Richard Murphy Architects, using a vibrant red brick to reflect local materials and tones. to help provide clarity and identity of the living and teaching spaces. A slender, brick piers will form ‘lantern’ top to the tallest building creating a new centre piece visible from Maryland Elizabeth Line Station. The teaching building containing new Lab accommodation establishes its own rhythm that runs along Cedars Road, made up of vertical ceramic fins.

A new ‘student street’ has been created to provide additional coverered space linking the ground floor of the Arthur Edwards Building and the new Wellbeing Centre and will be constructed using coloured steel beams and a cantilevered canopy. Coloured sculptural steel elements will also mark key thresholds to the campus.

The project has been designed to deliver a highly sustainable development which incorporates a range of zero carbon measures, reuse of existing materials from site and a large uplift in net biodiversity. The team is committed to deliver an onsite reduction in regulated carbon emissions of at least 50-60% and the proposals is on target to achieve


Team: Total Property Solutions (Project Management) / DP9 (Planning Consultant) / Spacehub (Landscape) / Whitby Wood (Structures & Civil Engineers) / Environmental Services Design (MEPH) / Trium (EIA) / Eight Versa (Climate and Sustainability) / Rider Levett Bucknall (QS) / Curtins (Transport) / ORSA (Fire) / Kanda (Stakeholder Consultation) / Currie Brown (CDM) / Smith Jenkins (Town Planning & Heritage) / Point2 (Day and Sunlight) / AQC (Air) / GIA (Wind) / PEA (Ecology)

Status: RIBA 0-3 (Detailed Planning Application)

"We are very proud to have been commissioned by the University of East London to complete this historic campus.  The University was pioneering in providing the first higher education teaching accommodation for women in the East End of London and was regarded as ‘The Peoples University.’ We have really enjoyed meeting and talking local residents, many of whom are former students – and are very proud of the University’s contribution to the community’ We are looking forward to the next stages of work to realise this very important project."

Neil Deely, Metropolitan Workshop Co Founder and Partner