East Bank, London

The largest building of the Stratford Waterfront cultural and education buildings, the new home for the London College of Fashion is conceived as a 21st century workshop, its design inspired by the 19th century mill buildings common to many industrial cities, and indeed, this particular site. It is outwardly simple, unpretentious and robust while capable of containing multiple complex and process-driven internal arrangements that are continually susceptible to change.

The College’s elevations are characterised by day-lit and naturally ventilated workshops with large factory-like steel framed windows that can be opened and are set between textured pre-cast concrete columns. They form the envelope for a ring of studio space around the perimeter of the building, which is flexible, able to accommodate the wide spectrum of course offerings from fashion design to business and marketing, as well as adapt to future modes of teaching and learning in the years and decades ahead.

At the heart of the College will be free spaces for learning, studying and social interaction strung together through voids on each floor that vary in form to create a rich multi-level internal environment. These will be set within dramatic internal courtyards that are crossed by stairs, offering places for all manner of incidental and planned activities. The first four public levels are open and airy, welcoming visitors and students alike up into the building through curvilinear concrete sculptural staircases. On the Carpenters Road side, these public areas and the College library are made visible to the outside through a large triple height show window.

The ten upper levels will be home to the inner workings of the College with various arrangements of studios, classrooms, breakout spaces and academic offices. This upper block projects over the waterfront public realm to create a large covered colonnade. One of the largest covered spaces in the Olympic Park, it is also a sheltered outdoor room for students and visitors to inhabit, whether to take cover from the rain or a place for a class to go outdoors and colonise. At the top of the building, a pitched roofline nestled into the southern elevation marks daylit studio spaces for creative classes like live drawing. The distinctive form will have electronic signage and lighting integrated in to it, allowing the College to broadcast its programming out into the community. Throughout the interiors are places for people to engage with, play with and use. Concrete stairs, walls and floors all provide a raw canvas for the productive activity involved in the learning and creative processes.

Bringing together an institution currently operating in six sites across London, the new London College of Fashion will be first time that all its departments will co-locate together under one roof. When completed, the building will be one of the largest dedicated to the study and research of fashion in the world.


link to Stratford Waterfront masterplan


University of the Arts London
Allies and Morrison
Structural engineer
Buro Happold
Landscape architect
LDA Design
Project and cost management
Gardiner & Theobald


36,138 sqm GIA
East Bank, London