Plans unveiled for London Met Uni’s new ‘community’ campus in Holloway

The Rocket Building at London Metropolitan University's Holloway campus

The Rocket Building at London Metropolitan University's Holloway campus - Credit: Archant

University bosses today unveiled their plans for a controversial expanded campus in Holloway that involves closing two satellite faculties in East London.

Professor John Raftery, Vice Chancellor of London Metropolitan University

Professor John Raftery, Vice Chancellor of London Metropolitan University - Credit: Archant

Architects have been appointed by London Metropolitan University to plan out the £125 million project in the main campus in Holloway Road, despite a campaign against the closures.

The award-winning Design Engine architects practice has been commissioned to develop a masterplan for the campus to accommodate the Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design and the Guildhall Faculty of Business and Law - currently located in Aldgate and Moorgate respectively.

The plans have been fiercely opposed by students who in December occupied the Cass faculty in protest. Protesters claim that the move will result in cuts to jobs and courses.

In a statement issued on Monday, Vice Chancellor of the university Professor John Raftery, said: “I am delighted that Design Engine are on board with us to help create an inspirational and vibrant Islington campus which will secure our future as a university.”

A key element of the project, he said, was to open up the Holloway campus to the local community.

“We want to make London Met the capital’s community university,” he said. “We want our cafes, libraries and exhibition spaces to be more open to the people of Islington and members of the public who will benefit from them.”

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Responding to the statement, Occupy the Cass, the protest group behind the occupation of the Cass faculty, described the Vice Chancellor as “out of touch with the needs of students and the realities of modern universities”.

“Why is the key element of John Raftery’s plans focused on the needs of the people of Islington, when students pay over £9,000 a year for the priviledge of higher education?” the group said.

“He seems to be overlooking the fact that London Met Uni already has strong community ties in all of its campuses as do all modern day universities.”

Design Engine Architects has worked on several university campuses across the UK including for the University of Oxford, London School of Economics and won the RIBA National Award for the John Henry Brookes Building at Oxford Brookes University.

John Ridgett, Director of Design Engine, said the company was “hugely excited” to be involved in developing the new masterplan strategy for the university.

“The practice is particularly passionate about the University’s access mission and strong record of making higher education available to all members of society,” he said.