Peter Wilder, a guest lecturer and former student at the University of Greenwich, offers his first impressions of the new building at Stockwell Street.
I recently had the pleasure of teaching at the new University of Greenwich campus in Stockwell Street. Having been a student and lecturer at the Dartford and Avery Hill Campus, it was great to see the School of Architecture and landscape finally establish its rightful place in the heart of Greenwich, London. The transformation is amazing. Not only are the facilities first class, but the proximity to the town centre gives the campus a real cultural buzz. At lunch time instead of sauntering down to the canteen for half stale packet pies and soggy chips, we had the choice of cafes restaurants or the vibrant food hall in the nearby Greenwich Market where Indian, Chinese, Malay food was served along with a stand for Dutch Waffles. Certainly food for thought.
The new campus has amazing spaces in which to teach, ranging from workshop studios, breakout spaces, design studios equally dispersed with Windows and Macintosh computers, and the Crit Pit. This is an open space in the heart of the building where large groups can pin up and present digitally their work in progress. Everywhere in the building there are large flat screen monitors or projectors making it possible to carry out a lecture almost anywhere in the building. I remember teaching at Avery Hill and after dispersing the class into groups work session having to run around the building, up and down stairs and through a warren of spaces trying to find the groups to sit in on their design session. Now with the studios well equipped with computer terminals and projectors I can take any sized class into a space that provides tables, whiteboards and overhead projectors that allow students or teachers to present in any media type.
The new building has yet another trick up its sleeve, an extensive set of roof gardens and outdoor labs where research and live demonstrations can be carried out in fields such as hydro and aquaponics, green facades and extensive and intensive green roofs. Whilst still in its infancy, they were setting up the aquaponics lab while I was there, this will prove to be a campus that re-establishes the University of Greenwich as one of the premier places in Europe to study Architecture and Landscape. It couldn’t have come at a better time, as the university celebrates its 50th year of teaching Architecture and Landscape, and at a time when the recovering market is in dire need of talented young graduates.