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Bartlett Buildings: Hampstead Road

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The conversion of 132–140 Hampstead Road into a temporary base for The Bartlett between 2014 and 2016 proved to be a test bed for designs for the faculty's headquarters at 22 Gordon Street.

Bartlett Buildings: Hampstead Road

The fit out of Hampstead Road created flexible, temporary spaces within the robust walls of the two old warehouses. Smaller booths were for tutorials and meetings, differentiated from the main floor plan by grey carpet.

Credit: Tim Crocker

140 Hampstead Road was first advertised by estate agents in 1972. In the same year, it was listed as the registered office and London sales headquarters of the Tyre Division for Dunlop Company Ltd.

From 1974 to 1983, planning documents state that it was in use as a furniture distribution warehouse. There were offices too – for example, newspapers indicate that Maple & Co., the Tottenham Court Road furnishing department store, occupied at least part of the building for its personnel department from 1974 to the early 1990s.

The building continued in use as a warehouse with offices until UCL acquired a short-term leasehold of the site, along with the neighbouring warehouse at 132 Hampstead Road, in March 2013.

The purpose of the lease was to rehouse The Bartlett School of Architecture during the two-year refurbishment of Wates House.

The scale of the space at Hampstead Road also allowed The Bartlett to consolidate facilities that were spread over a range of locations. This included enabling the School of Architecture to decant its model-making and workshop activities from the Royal Ear Hospital.

Having been used as a warehouse, the space at Hampstead Road had to be fitted out before students could move in. This was undertaken by the architects Hawkins\Brown – the architects behind the transformation of Wates House into 22 Gordon Street.

Bartlett Buildings: Hampstead Road

Workshops at Hampstead Road.

Credit: Tim Crocker

A break with the past

Hawkins\Brown used the move to provide a symbolic demonstration of change, a break with the past in readiness for a new future at 22 Gordon Street. The temporary nature of the space was used to encourage experimentation; an opportunity to prototype new physical and educational environments that would feed into the design of 22 Gordon Street.

Timber partitions were inserted into the open-plan warehouse space to divide studios from the main body of the building into stall-like compartments. Simple shelves bracketed to the timber panels provided storage space for students, and moveable furniture and large tables were used to create a flexible working space. To muffle sound in the large space, rectangular baffles hung vertically from the ceiling.

Professor Bob Sheil, Director of The Bartlett School of Architecture, said at the time that moving to Hampstead Road, temporary though it was, “has been a revelation for the school” and that it “enabled us to develop our approach to both teaching and research”.

The Bartlett returned to 22 Gordon Street in 2016. The Hampstead Road building was vacated by July 2017, ahead of its demolition for the planned High Speed 2 (HS2) rail link.

The Bartlett is UCL's Faculty of the Built Environment, comprising 12 multidisciplinary schools, institutes and centres. Find out more:

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