London School of Economics_buildings


New Academic Building

The LSE selected ZZA as Space and Briefing Advisers to develop the new building’s space strategy, prior to selecting Grimshaw as architects. We engaged with academics and administrators to assess their needs and enlist support for spatial quality, productive use, and sustainable building performance. We also championed space for students. The process achieved significant step changes in the space budget, increasing efficiency and delivering five floors of high quality academic space, fine lecture, teaching, study and social spaces. The architects valued ZZA’s collaboration, inviting us to work with them on future projects.

Research hub

Engaging with the LSE’s separate research centres, ZZA forged a brief for a central research hub in the existing Towers Building. This realised project comprised enhanced space for individual work and collaboration, support facilities, and a visual image to project the stature of work done inside.

Study space

ZZA has undertaken serial studies of student perceptions of LSE’s campus. These evidence high priority that students place on study space. Responding to this, LSE Estates commissioned briefing research on evolving requirements and preferences. Our studies capture the range of needs for individual and group study, quiet and interactive study, technology and analogue modalities, in formal and informal study environments. The output has helped inform the very significant expansion of study space in the School, as well as the notable choice of study settings now offered on campus.


Post occupancy evaluation

ZZA has undertaken numerous POEs of LSE buildings, all capturing the experience of students, academics and administrators in the School’s new buildings, adapted buildings, and retrofitted interiors. Our POE of the widely acclaimed See Saw Hock student centre is described in the book on the Centre’s realization. ZZA’s evaluation of LSE LIFE, an innovative learning environment in the main LSE library, evidences successful adaptive re-use of valuable space at the heart of the campus, and the positive impact of thoughtful, tailored services and proactive curation. Our most recent user research is in the distinctive new Centre Buildings, covering the building’s innovative range of spaces for study, research, teaching and learning.

Process evaluation

Our evaluations for the LSE include Process Review, examining the evolution of new projects as experienced by team members’ who contribute the outcome. Recent studies include engagement with the design and construction teams on the new Marshall Building by Grafton Architects, currently under development, and the new Centre Building by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. These evaluations have focused on the entire development and procurement cycle, from Stage 0 to handover. LSE’s objective is to feed the learning into future design and construction in their ambitious programme of campus development.

LSE’s New Centre Buildings, designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners:
(top) Popular Learning Commons, © Joas Souza;
(lower) Reimaging the LSE campus, © Mark Gorton / RSHP, courtesy of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners