Partnership celebrated as joint university campus takes shape in east london

26 September 2012

The benefits of working together were championed at a ceremony marking the completion of the first stage in the construction of the new Birkbeck-University of East London building in Stratford.

The leaders of both universities spoke about the advantages of partnership, and study opportunities to be offered at the campus, during the topping out event on 24 September. Staff and governors also joined the visit to celebrate the completion of the main structure of the five-storey building, to be called University Square, Stratford.

The campus in Stratford’s Cultural Quarter will open next autumn and will be able to cater for a total of 3,400 students from Birkbeck and UEL. It will offer flexible part-time, full-time, day and evening study opportunities at both undergraduate and postgraduate level for people living and working in east London. Many courses will be on offer, in a diverse range of fields, including Law, Business and the creative industries.

Professor Patrick McGhee, Vice-Chancellor of the University of East London, spoke about providing education to disadvantaged communities living in east London, and of “an unbeatable partnership” between UEL and Birkbeck’s model of part-time evening higher education. He said: “I am delighted to be here in Stratford. We really are at the centre of regeneration in terms of transport, sport and commerce. There is a strong sense of community regeneration here.”

Professor David Latchman, Master of Birkbeck, added: “When we first thought about coming to east London in 2005 it was before the Olympics had been awarded to London, and we will ensure that the people of East London gain the skills to benefit fully from the Olympic legacy.”

To mark the occasion, Professors McGhee and Latchman both received, and signed, a visitors’ book from Andy Stoney, Regional Director for building firm Volker Fitzpatrick. Stoney added: “The building is starting to take shape now. It is certainly a landmark in the area.”

Designed by Make architects, the 8,600 square metres of facilities at University Square Stratford will include a 300-seat lecture theatre, learning centre, student support centre, seminar rooms, and administrative offices, all surrounding a light-filled atrium.

Both universities are grateful for the ongoing support provided by the London borough of Newham and the Higher Education Funding Council .