Dublin-based Grafton Architects, who last year were awarded the Jane Drew Prize, have seen off competition from the likes of Herzog & de Meuron and David Chipperfield Architects to win the contest to design the London School of Economics’ (LSE) £100 million ($144 million) Paul Marshall Building. The new center will house the academic departments of Accounting, Finance and Management and research centres, including the Marshall Institute, with teaching facilities as well as new multipurpose sports and arts facilities. Grafton Architects are reportedly "absolutely delighted to be given this opportunity to build in this unique location in Lincoln's Inn Fields, across from the wonderful Sir John Soane’s Museum, for a visionary client such as LSE."
Professor Craig Calhoun, Director and President of LSE, chaired the jury panel which made the final decision after presentations from the six shortlisted teams. He commented that Grafton's "creative design is formal but also fun, and I have no doubt will further enhance LSE’s status as a university with an estate that matches its global academic reputation."
Director of Estates and jury panel member Julian Robinson believes that "Grafton’s design has the potential to provide LSE with a distinctive and seminal piece of university architecture, which expresses the values and aspirations of the School. Combining modernity and tradition we felt it would enhance Lincoln’s Inn Fields and connect well with the rest of LSE. It’s an inspiring design and I look forward to working with Grafton and their team to deliver it."
According to RIBA Competitions, the jury panel was eight strong including Jane Duncan, President of the RIBA, and Paul Marshall. Paul Marshall is a major benefactor of LSE, having recently contributed £30m—the School’s largest private philanthropic donation—for the creation of the Marshall Institute for Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship and towards the redevelopment of 44 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, which was purchased by LSE in 2013 from Cancer Research UK.
The six shortlisted practices included:
- AL_A, London
- David Chipperfield Architects, London
- Diller Scofidio + Renfro with Penoyre & Prasad, New York & London
- Grafton Architects, Dublin, Ireland
- Herzog & de Meuron, Basel, Switzerland & London
- Niall McLaughlin Architects + Scott Brownrigg, London