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New Town House

Name Town House
Campus Penrhyn Road
Key stages
Demolition of old building: Summer 2016
Construction of new building: starts early 2017

Working with RIBA award winning and Sterling Prize nominated, Grafton Architects, Kingston University recently obtained permission for its new landmark teaching building, replacing an outdated, temporary building with high quality design that offers a vibrant new face to the University and a welcoming gateway to Kingston upon Thames.

The new £50million landmark building which will transform the learning experience and bring together the University and the local community. Facilities will include a learning resources centre, a covered courtyard, two cafes and a welcoming and attractive new landscaping scheme across the front of the campus.

We look forward to starting work on site in 2016. The new building and landscaping is due to be ready in 2019 representing the first phase of the University's vision for the future.

"We need a building that is going to make us think about education, about learning and about how students and staff interact; about why people want to come to university."
Julius Weinberg, Vice-Chancellor, Kingston University

The design includes welcoming new landscaped areas.

New Town House vision

The new building will offer everyone a warm welcome. This includes students, staff and alumni, as well as the local community and visitors from further afield. It will act as the University's front door, providing information and assistance, celebrating learning, showcasing achievements and supporting collaborations with industry and others. It will provide a range of spaces that will facilitate learning as a social process, as well as spaces for quiet study.

The new building will comprise:

  • a learning resources centre – a space across several floors, including group and quiet study spaces and special collections;
  • a covered courtyard – supporting innovative learning and experimentation, as well as civic engagement and creative enterprise opportunities;
  • specialist learning spaces – providing rehearsal areas for academic dance courses.
  • two cafes; and
  • three new public landscaped areas.

New Town House architects

We have appointed Grafton Architects to design the new building. They have a world-class reputation and the University panel that selected them unanimously agreed that their proposal would provide a building which would transform the learning experience.

Grafton's design for Universita Luigi Bocconi, Milan, was named as World Building of the Year at the 2008 World Architecture Festival. In 2013 their University of Limerick Medical School was shortlisted for Britain's most prestigious architectural award, the RIBA Stirling Prize. They are currently working on Université Toulouse 1 Capitole in France, a new university Campus for UTEC Lima, a university of engineering in Peru, and a £100million faculty building at the London School of Economics. They have also won a British Civic Trust award for sensitive construction in a conservation area.

Grafton's two founding partners, Shelley McNamara and Yvonne Farrell, have been shortlisted for the Architects' Journal Women in Architecture 2014 prize.

New Town House sustainability

Our commitment to being environmentally conscious and sustainable will be at the forefront of the new development. The architects have designed a building which will accommodate the evolving needs of those who use, manage and fund buildings in efficient, effective, environmentally-friendly ways over the building's whole life.

We were awarded a Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) rating of 'Excellent' for our new Kingston Business School building in 2012 and we are currently on target to exceed a BREEAM 'Excellent' rating for this new building.

"The new building is going to be very green both in the environmental sense and in how you look at it." Julius Weinberg, Vice-Chancellor, Kingston University

One of the sustainable features of the new building will include a sedum roof – a lightweight plant covering to encourage biodiversity:

"Grafton Architects are delighted with their appointment to design this exciting new building for Kingston University. We found the educational vision, as expressed in the brief for the building, extremely progressive and inspirational. The building we designed was a direct response to this vision which called for openness, interaction, connection with the community of students, and connection with the wider community of Kingston." Shelley McNamara and Yvonne Farrell, Grafton Architects

"Grafton have an international reputation for designing thoughtful, beautifully detailed buildings and the University is excited to be working with them on the first Grafton building in the UK." Sean Woulfe, Director of Estates, Kingston University

Town House project progress

What's happening now?

Over the summer of 2016 we will be removing the old building, starting in June and taking around three months. We will be working inside the existing building to strip out fixtures before the building is removed. Our contractors have extensive experience carrying out this type of work in built-up areas. All necessary measures will be taken to ensure that disruption will be kept to a minimum. Willmott Dixon Construction have been appointed to work as part of the project team for the demolition and main contract works.

What's happening next?

Construction of the new landmark building with start late in 2016 or early 2017, with the building being completed in 2019.


  • RIBA architectural competition to select design team


  • Architect appointed
  • Public consultation 
  • Design evolves


  • Planning application granted


  • Demolition of old building
  • Construction of new building starts


  • Completion of new building
  • As with all major construction projects, the timetable is subject to change

Contact us

We are committed to keeping you informed and listening to your views.

Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3142
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