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Public gets an inside look at University Square Stratford

UEL students

The University of East London offered the public a glimpse of the unknown this weekend when it opened the doors of its sleek University Square Stratford campus for London’s prestigious Open House architecture festival.

Attendees of the day-long event included local Newham residents, contractors and architecture fans making the rounds of Open House buildings.

“This is the first time we’ve entered USS in the Open House event,” said UEL Strategic Projects Manager Max Krafchik. “It’s a great opportunity to show off the building to the general public,  and allow people to see its stunning design and cutting-edge green technology at close range.”

The annual Open House gives people an opportunity to visit architecturally significant buildings which are normally closed to the public. This year’s programme included hundreds of diverse structures throughout London, from 10 Downing Street and Whitehall to the headquarters of London Underground to private Hampstead homes.

USS, a joint venture between UEL and Birkbeck, University of London, opened in 2013 at a cost of £33 million. Designed by London-based Make Architects, the building’s 8,600 square metres is spread over five floors and consists of teaching and performance space, offices and a large, light-filled atrium. It is located in the heart of Stratford’s cultural district.

The building’s numerous eco-friendly features include more than 700 square metres of solar panels, rooftop habitats to increase biodiversity, three rooftop bat boxes, rainwater harvesting and a garden at ground level.

On Saturday, architecture students led visitors on personalised tours of USS. Academic work was on display throughout the building, and attendees were encouraged to interact with exhibitions.

“The four architecture student ambassadors we had were excellent. They engaged with the visitors and dealt with the questions really well,” said Mr Krafchik.