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Town House

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

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Grafton Architects, Kingston University obtained permission for its new landmark teaching building, replacing an outdated, temporary building with one of high quality design that offers a vibrant new face to the University and a welcoming gateway to Kingston upon Thames.

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

Commencing construction in April 2017, Town House is due to open in early 2020 representing the first phase of the University's vision for the future.

Take a look inside Town House, our new landmark building, due to open in early 2020.

The design includes welcoming new landscaped areas.

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 - library and associated resources on several floors, including quiet study space for groups and individuals;
  • flexible technology throughout - to support inventive studying and collaborative group work;
  • a covered courtyard - designed for innovative learning and experimentation, as well as civic engagement and creative enterprise opportunities;
  • specialist learning spaces - providing flexible rehearsal spaces for academic dance courses;
  • space for events;
  • cafes; and
  • new public landscaped areas.

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 £100million faculty building at the London School of Economics, and they worked on a new university of engineering - UTEC Lima, in Peru. The latter won the inaugural 2016 RIBA International Prize and  was nominated for the Design Museum's ninth annual awards. It formed part of the opening programme of exhibitions when it opened in new premises in Kensington High Street in November 2016. They have also won a British Civic Trust award for sensitive construction in a conservation area.


The University was pleased to announce the appointment of Willmott Dixon Construction as the building contractor for Town House. They will be working closely with the existing team of Grafton Architects and Turner & Townsend to construct the landmark building.

Willmott Dixon Construction has an excellent track record in delivering multi-million pound public and commercial projects. It has been named Education Constructor of the Year by Education Investor magazine for three years in a row.

Over the course of the construction period the University will be working closely with Willmott Dixon who are part of the Considerate Constructors Scheme to ensure that disruption to students, staff and our neighbours outside of the campus is kept to a minimum.

We will also be hosting regular events both internally and externally with Willmott Dixon to provide information on the construction programme and provide opportunities for people to become involved in the project.

Please see below some links to information that has been provided at recent events.

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.

One of the sustainable features of the new building will include a green 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 progress

What's happened so far?

Willmott Dixon Construction formally took ownership of the site in April 2017. Prior to this they began preparatory works to make the site ready for construction to commence. All necessary measures were taken by Willmott Dixon to ensure that disruption is kept to a minimum.

What's happening now?

Construction is underway with the colonnade being built over summer 2018 and fit out work continuing. Landscaping works to the front of Penrhyn Road Main Building is also progressing well. Project is on track for completion for the 2019 academic year.



  • 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


  • Town House opens
  • As with all major construction projects, the timetable is subject to change

Contact us

You can contact us for more details about the Town House progress.

Contact us

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

Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3142
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