NCH at Northeastern, St. Katharine Docks

  • area / size 39,000 sqft
  • Completed 2021
  • Workplace Creations was tasked with transforming St. Katherine Docks for NCH at Northeastern in London, England.

    Based out of Boston, USA, Northeastern University is the world leader in experience-driven learning.

    After Northeastern University’s acquisition of New College of the Humanities in London in 2019, NCH @ Northeastern was born. The intention was to create a launchpad for expanding Northeastern’s global network of campuses and the fact that NCH had a lease expiry meant that they needed to find a new home.

    First introduced to Northeastern back in July 2019, we worked hard with the client team to define their brief; to create a campus offering multi flexible learning spaces like no other in their portfolio that gave maximum flexibility for the students and staff.

    Once Devon House in St. Katharine Docks was selected as the preferred option, our team worked hard not only to space plan the building, but also to help with the complex planning application process of obtaining a Change of Use to educational.

    We created a brand new entrance to separate the students from the other users of the building. To contend with the developing Covid-19 situation we completely redesigned the existing ventilation system to allow for two air changes per hour.

    To integrate the student journey from ground to first floor was an exciting challenge and the only way of doing this was to design, manufacture and install a brand new feature staircase between the floors.

    The bespoke staircase is a central feature with additional biophilia, a curved seating area which links into a specialist bleacher stadium seating joinery piece which creates height within the main Presentation Area.

    The campus needed to be completely flexible allowing for unobstructed collaborative learning, where any number of students can come together in any size of classroom to learn.

    We met this challenge by creating agile spaces throughout the campus. The use of sliding and folding glass walls in addition to multi-use writable surfaces throughout,  provides the transparency and flexibility they desired.

    It was important for the campus to reflect the location and Dock environment which connects directly into the River Thames. A specialist reflective material in the Main Entrance reminds the students, faculty staff, guests and visitors of the water surrounding the building.

    A UK first specialist rope lighting feature connects the journey from the front of the building to the connecting staircase which reflects both waves and the use of ropes to tie up ships on The Thames.

    Incredibly, the project was delivered during Covid-19 with communication almost exclusively through Microsoft Teams with a client 3,000 miles away who hadn’t even seen the building in person.

    We truly became their Trusted Advisor.

    Design: Workplace Creations
    Photography: Andrew Boyd