heneghan peng architects

University of Greenwich: Library and Academic Building

Greenwich, London, UK

The new library and School of Architecture and Construction is located along an approach from Greenwich Town to Greenwich Park¹ within the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site. The site, which is currently derelict, is within an urban fabric of terraced building which suggested a fine-grained approach. 

The urban grain (striation) is drawn across the site, its dimensions related to natural light penetration, air movement and scale. The grain of narrow and wide bands structure the site, narrow bands containing courtyards, service and cores, wide bands provide the teaching and learning spaces. The grain is further drawn through to the street to create a permeable streetscape.

The library is located to the north establishing a connection to the main university campus in the Old Royal Naval College. Cafe and exhibition spaces line Stockwell Street whilst at the corner opposite Hawksmoor's St. Alfege Church, a slight setback creates a threshold, an entrance to the building and a pause in the street from which to turn with the church as its focus.

A place where “the conversation of all (can be) a series of lectures to each” where students can see and learn from each other.

The studio space is designed as the heart of the SoAC occupying the entire first floor, Suspended in the space between the courtyards, seminar rooms form part of the studio environment, creating an educational space of production and discussion.

The building has the dual role of having to both embed itself as a piece of urban fabric to the south while making itself recognizable as a civic entity to the north. Its expression shifts in response to its context, appearing from Nevada St as a series of tightly packed volumes which blend into the streetscape; as one rounds the corner this fabric begins begin to pull apart, revealing the activity within and establishing the university’s presence within the town as a space of academic excellence and urban connectivity.

Fact sheet


University of Greenwich






Greenwich, London, UK


Structures | Civil

Alan Baxter Associates

Building Services

Hoare Lea




Sandy Brown


Drivers Jonas Deloitte

Specialist Lighting

Bartenbach LichLabor





Planning Visualisation


Model Photography

Richard Davies

Model Making

Andrew Ingham & Associates



heneghan peng architects
14–16 Lord Edward Street
Dublin 2, Ireland

Tel +353 1 633 9000
Fax +353 1 633 9010



heneghan peng architects
Lehrter Strasse 57;
Haus 1
10557 Berlin, Germany


Tel +49 30 20 89 88 750
Fax +49 30 20 89 88 759