By Ellie Suttle
Kingston Hill campus has unveiled its new £26m environmentally-friendly business school, designed by a Kingston graduate.
Former KU student, Nicola Rutt, was among the architects of company Hawkins Brown who won a competition in 2008 to create the new building.
“I have fond memories of my time at Kingston University and was really pleased to be able to return in a professional capacity,” said Nicola, who graduated in 1995.
Dean of the faculty of Business and Law, Professor Jean-Noel Ezingeard said: “Because she was a student, she knew what the students wanted and needed. Nicola has done us proud as a Kingston representative.”
The business school, formerly Rennie Halls student accommodation, boasts numerous environmentally-friendly features aimed at enhancing Kingston’s already first class sustainability rating.
Attributes include a grass roof which acts as a natural insulator, providing a haven for birds and insects as well as collecting rainwater for flushing toilets.
The windows use specially enhanced glass that captures sunlight, heating the building in the winter and cooling it in the summer.
And one of England’s largest ground sourced heat pumps was installed beneath the lawn area between the music school and the new development to help heat the building.
The measures will save the university money in the long term.
“Kingston as a university has always been very keen on the sustainability of its buildings,” said Professor Ezingeard. “The building provides much needed areas for students to park themselves and study between lectures and do group work.”
The building, which came in under budget, and which took almost two years to construct, is one in a long line of Kingston campus sustainable buildings that created Penrhyn Road’s John Galsworthy building, the new LRC at Knights Park and the Hawker Wing at Roehampton Vale.
These buildings have helped Kingston achieve a first class award in the Green League Table, where it is ranked 18th out of 142 universities for environmental and ethical performance.
Kingston Hill’s new business school was handed over to the faculties and its students on February 29 by Chris Dingle, the president of the Student Union.
However, until the grand opening in April, only a few lectures will be held in the building.
Willie Walsh, the chief executive of the International Airlines Group will hold a formal opening in April, and building tours for students will be organised and will begin during March.
“The construction aims to upgrade teaching facilities that desperately needed it and improve the campus’s classrooms that had come to the end of their working lives,” said Professor Ezingeard. “It is classy accommodation and was really well designed.”