Kingston University’s Vice Chancellor said he was delighted to have Kingston Council approval for the £55m project to replace the Town House with a new landmark.
Professor Julius Weinberg said he was happy to have so much support from the community when a revised proposal received the go-ahead after planners turned down the original project.
“We can now be justly proud and excited about being able to deliver a sympathetically-designed landmark building that will transform students’ learning experience at the University,” he said. “It has something for everyone and will help to put the University firmly on the map.”
The first plans were vetoed in council in March after councillors said the building was “too bulky” and looked like a “World War II flak tower”.
The architects responsible for the project had to reduce the size by 300 square meters, make the building lighter in the upper levels and set it back another meter.
A KU spokesperson said: “The University is committed to constantly enhancing the teaching and learning experience. Many students, staff and local residents have been inspired by how the development will benefit both the University and the borough. ”
The new Town House building will provide students with access to a modern learning resources centre, a 300-seat multi-media auditorium, a rehearsal and performance space for the University’s dance courses and three new public landscaped areas.
The University said that the decision to be “environmentally conscious and sustainable” will be the main concern of the project, with one the landmark’s new features being a plant-covered roof, to encourage sustainability.
The current Town House building is set to be demolished in spring 2016 and construction work will start in late summer. The construction is scheduled to be complete in late 2018.
Kingston University has been investing in several improvements across all campuses, including the £26m Business School building at Kingston Hill, the £20m John Galsworthy Building and new facilities for the Student Union, refurbishing the Clattern lecture theatre at Penrhyn Road and a new outdoor recreational space at Roehampton Vale.