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Excitement as new Town House on Penrhyn Road finally opens

By Aimee Miller Jan 7, 2020
The Town House opened its door on Monday Photo: Kingston University

Kingston University’s multi-million pound Town House on Penrhyn Road has opened.

On Monday at 8.30am, the six-storey building opened its doors to excited students, staff, and community members to showcase the University’s multi-floor academic library and archive alongside dance studios and a studio theatre.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Steven Spier said: “I’m delighted that with Town House, everyone who visits, studies in, and works at Kingston University now has access to a beautiful and inviting space in which to learn, socialise and just be.”

There is also a covered internal courtyard, multiple cafes, external balconies and walkways, and a rooftop garden.

However, parts of the building are still under construction, the garden and balconies are not currently accessible, and some light and plug fixtures are not yet working.

The library will operate at their usual times, and if students should wish to stay past 9 pm Monday – Thursday, they will then be required to show their student IDs or swipe in at the door to gain access.

Spier said the £50m Town House aims to provide students and staff with a world-class learning and teaching environment they can be proud of: “Town House is a stunning architectural achievement – an inspirational building with a variety of spaces which break down barriers and encourage creativity, shared learning and unexpected encounters.”

Award-winning architectural firm Grafton Architects designed Town House building and three-time Education Constructor of the Year firm Willmott Dixon built the project.

Inside the Town House Photo: Isabella Ruffatti

A Kingston University spokesperson said the project was in line with sustainability goals, with Town House being a BREEAM Excellent rated development – a leading sustainability assessment method for master planning projects, infrastructure and buildings. 

The design intends to support and enhance the student experience.

Spier added: “At the start of this project we set out to create a building that gives us a real presence in the borough and that reflects the importance of our civic role within Kingston upon Thames.

“We wanted an inviting, welcoming environment that would allow more opportunities for collaboration between the University, residents and businesses.

“We hope Town House will act as a front door and gateway for people to come and be a part of what we are delivering for the borough and wider society.”

The Town House was first green-lit for construction in 2015.

The River has approached Kingston University for comment about what will be done with the old library space now that it has moved, however, plans currently remain unconfirmed

See what The River Entertainments Editor Catherine Poole thinks of the new space                     Video: Chloe Wright

By Aimee Miller

Chief sub-editor at The River writing about all things books, reviews & north-east Asia. Say hi on Twitter or email me!

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