London School of Economics London, UK

The new Saw Swee Hock Student Centre at the London School of Economics is striking not only for its folded, crumpled form, but also for its unusual perforated brick facing.

The building is designed to achieve a Breeam “Outstanding” rating, and the perforated brick façade optimises daylight and natural cross-ventilation while maintaining the building’s sculpted form.   A Delmatic system controls lighting throughout the building, optimising energy efficiency through a combination of presence detection, absence detection, and daylight-linked dimming.

Located at the convergence of a network of narrow streets that characterises the LSE’s city centre campus, the six storey building will play a vital role in enhancing the student experience and furthering LSE's aim of creating a world class estate.

London is a city of brick, yet the building design uses brick in a new way, wrapping the walls in a permeable blanket to create dappled daylight during the day and, at night, causing the building to appear as a glowing lattice lantern.  As a further element of sustainability, and also an acknowledgment of the past, the exterior bricks are recycled from the former St Philips hospital buildings on the site.

The six story, 6,100 sq.m centre will provide space for the student union and will have an event space in the basement, a bar at ground level, a “Learning Café” perched within the glazed corner of the building on the first floor and, higher up, student TV and radio stations. On the top floor, a juice bar will lead to an open terrace.

A Delmatic Dali system provides energy-efficient switching and dimming throughout the six storey building including the administrative areas, café’s, bars, juice bars, gym, TV and radio stations as well as within back of house and core areas:  the system also controls lighting within the two basement level event spaces providing scene-setting and integrating with the event and function DMX controls.

The system makes extensive use of Dali broadcast technology which provides the dimming and monitoring benefits of Dali without the need to address the ballasts after installation on site. IP routers handle communication across the IT network while the Delmatic system integrates with the BMS via BACnet for the sharing of data and transmission of key data.

The lighting in all internal areas is addressable and the system optimises energy efficiency by controlling lighting in relation to daylight, presence and absence. The high level of addressability has enabled the designers to establish control parameters that best suit the design and usage of each space, and to achieve various design illuminance levels depending on the activities within each area. 


Architect            O’Donnell & Tuomey

Consultant         BDSP

Contractor         SES

Image copyright O’Donnell & Tuomey