TOGETHER AND APART

In central London, work has become increasingly based in immaterial production and as a result education has come to play a key roll in the so-called knowledge economy. Today the university is more than just a place for study but represents a condition where language, communication and cooperation have become the main sources for production. 

However, despite student’s economic importance, student-housing is heavily under-represented and only 15% of UK students live in purpose built housing, while rest are forced to compete on the free housing market. To challenge this condition and in an attempt to answer how to retrofit the abandoned domino structures that echo in post-industrial cities; The Royal Mail sorting office on New Oxford Street in Central London, a piece of modernist infrastructures that has proven inadequate in a new society, is re-purposed for students; the new workers.

The proposed building is a modern campus accommodating learning centres, student housing, public spaces as well as a new underground station.  Seeking to give spatial definitions to how students can find suitable living and working environments in an increasingly precarious condition it asks the question, do we need to be alone in order to truly share something with the people around us? By rethinking the daily rituals of the student, a simply typological shift provides the start to construct a completely different way to “be together”, while respecting the individuality of the single person by having individualized the space of study and collectivized the space of living. The building becomes a manifestation to challenge the blurring of boundaries between public and private.