City Law School

London, UK

The City Law School has a history of delivering legal education which dates back to the nineteenth century, when as the Inns of Court School of Law (ICSL), it was the original provider of bar training in the United Kingdom.  Later, the Centre for Legal Studies was established in Northampton Square in 1977, delivering the original Graduate Diploma in Law (“Law Conversion”) programme.  In 2001, the ICSL and the Centre for Legal Studies merged to form The City Law School.  Now part of the University of London (City), distance learning and Solicitor Apprentice Schemes strengthen the School’s position as a ‘full service’ provider of legal education.

In preparation for joining the UoL Federation in 2016, City embarked on a strategic masterplan that has seen the estate repositioned and facilities expanded and enhanced.  The University’s Sebastian Street site, close to the original buildings in Northampton Square, was identified as suitable for intensification and improvement through the repurposing or demolition of existing buildings.  The new Law School sits on the corner of Goswell Road, a major thoroughfare, so part of the design ambition was the creation a suitable landmark for the University befitting its enhanced status.

Retaining the site’s Goswell and Myddelton Buildings, the realised scheme has a series of blocks around a central atrium space. Each block has its own character derived either from the existing buildings or new design that draw upon the context of the surrounding streetscape.  The result is a coherent family of buildings around a flexible core or hub.

The new buildings mediate between the scale of the Georgian residential streets and the larger more varied grain of Goswell Road; the sharply angled corner of the taller block gives the University a new urban marker.  The fully glazed corner building also references the University’s links with industry and the corporate world of the City. On Sebastian Street, glazing gives way to brick and the building steps down to meet its Georgian neighbours in a sympathetic way.  On the other side, the scheme adds an additional storey to the Myddelton Building in an intensification of the site for its new role.