UEL Reception

The UEL Reception Building provides a focal point for visitors entering the University of East London Docklands Campus from Cyprus DLR Station.

  • Project Cost £1 million
  • Architect Surface Architects
  • Images Paul Smoothy

Architecturally, the building takes the premise of the classic cuboidal form, and distorts it by pulling the roof plane forward and pitching it upwards, thus forcing the front and side elevations to rake. The result is a form that manages to be dramatic and captivating despite its relatively modest size.

The steel framed structure relies on transferring the majority of lateral and vertical load to the structural core, which is offset towards the rear corner of the building. The roof structure predominantly cantilevers from this core, thereby leaving the building’s most prominent (glazed) elevations column-free. The building cuts into the sloping landscape, and also into the existing terracing which leads up to the main university buildings. This necessitates the introduction of reinforced concrete retaining walls on the buried faces of the structure, built up off a piled raft foundation (a necessity given the considerable depth of made ground occurring on the former dock land).