The Saw Swee Hock Student Centre (SAW), the latest landmark building of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), has opened its doors with the LSE Students’ Union taking residence of the £38 million building this month.
The first new building LSE has commissioned in over 40 years, SAW’s dramatic sculptural form and unusual perforated brick façade was designed by Irish architect O’Donnell + Tuomey.
Julian Robinson, Director of Estates at LSE, said:
“Our aim, from the start of this project, has been to create the best students’ building in the UK, and I believe we have achieved this with the Saw Swee Hock Student Centre. It looks fantastic both inside and out, with its striking angles and superb use of a small but rich pallet of materials which have been beautifully crafted into an architectural tour de force. At night the building continues to delight becoming a glowing lantern. It will transform the student experience at LSE.”
The centre’s six floors now house the LSE Students’ Union (SU), LSE’s Careers, Residential Services and Accommodation Office. With a gym, exercise studio, bar and cafés, entertainment spaces, media centre and a 850 person night club/venue. SAW is set to become a focal point for students looking to study, socialise, work out or simply enjoy some down time.
Sustainability has been a key consideration from the start, with the building already achieving a BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ rating at the Design Stage.
The building also features a state of the art Faith Centre, open to staff and students of all faiths. The centre has been designed using the theme ‘sacred desert’ and includes a large room for events, a social space, a quiet area for prayer and meditation, male and female Muslim prayer rooms, as well a space for prayer and religious worship, for interfaith dialogue and as a place for quiet reflection.
The Saw Swee Hock Student Centre is named after Professor Saw Swee Hock, an LSE alumnus who has had a long association with the School. An official opening of the building will be held in April 2014.