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London College of Fashion, University of the Arts

At Portview, we create extraordinary spaces, and a perfect example of this is the new London College of Fashion, University of the Arts. Our expertise, creativity, and ambition help us overcome demanding challenges to deliver exceptional experiences for the most discerning brands in the world. We push what’s possible, resulting in the difficult done well.

In 2020, we were tasked to unite all six of the London College of Fashion’s sites for the first time in its 120-year history. The vision was to create an extraordinary new campus for over 6,500 students and staff with state-of-the-art facilities, including public open spaces, galleries, a library, and archives. After two years of on-site activity, the campus opened its doors to students in September 2023.

 

Working on a project of this scale requires careful consideration of a range of diverse issues, including user experience, material quality, AV requirements, and fire compliance. With over 6,500 students and staff passing through the space daily, it needed to be incredibly robust. With this in mind, we used natural timber to complement the stark concrete structure – maple finishes work in contrast with the dark ceilings, and the space exudes high fashion with a touch of industrial flair. Renowned as the home of education and creativity, the creation of seminar rooms and a large lecture theatre focused on the learning experience, with acoustics and sound balance as the key features.

In more collaborative, shared areas, airy space invites light to stream through a weaving series of staircases, connected vertically by two atriums. The bespoke lecture theatre needed to facilitate 350 students while having the flexibility to transform for events including conferences, concerts, cinema screenings, and stage productions. To create the adaptability needed, a bespoke tiered seating system was wrapped with timber-lined plasterboard walls. As well as the effortless aesthetics, it has been constructed and completed to the highest sustainability standards and has achieved BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ status.

In terms of fire safety compliance and regulations, this was never going to be a straightforward project. The sheer size of the building, paired with the Hackitt Report findings following the Grenfell disaster, meant we had to once again deliver our extraordinarily vigilant approach that has given us a proud track record in taking the utmost care of the well-being of our people.

The completion of this demanding unification project is another example of our appetite to do what others don’t. Our approach pitches us as more partner than provider; a trusted associate, not an arm’s length contractor. It’s this relationship-based principle that has seen us considered for an increasing number of contracts of this calibre. We are intentionally unlike any other company in our sector because we believe that’s what it takes to create the genuinely unique and the breathtakingly extraordinary.

“We don’t just believe that the biggest challenges offer the best opportunity, we act on it every day. It’s why bold brands love us. It’s how we create extraordinary experiences. When I embarked on my journey with Portview at the age of 20, I could never have envisioned leading a multimillion-pound project of such immense scale as the London College of Fashion. This achievement is a testament to the collective ambition of an exceptional team, each contributing their expertise to deliver something truly extraordinary. Witnessing this collaboration makes me immensely proud of what we’ve accomplished together.” – John McMahon, Contracts Director