London College of Fashion celebrates ‘Topping Out’ new building in the heart of East London


London College of Fashion, UAL (LCF) is proud to announce the completion and topping out of the shell of its incredible new building in the heart of East London. ‘Topping out’ at 85.5 metres, making it the UK’s tallest Higher Education building, the new campus will bring all six of LCF’s current sites together for the first time in its history.

Opening in autumn 2023, LCF’s new 30,000 sq ft campus, designed by architects Allies and Morrison and constructed by Mace, will be part of East Bank, one of the world’s largest and most ambitious culture and education districts. Located on the Stratford Waterfront in The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, East Bank will be a powerhouse for innovation, creativity and learning. LCF’s new neighbours will include V&A, BBC, Sadler’s Wells and UCL and the project is central to the long-term legacy of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

To mark the occasion, rather than traditionally placing a final stone or brick, a selection of beautifully stitched banners were unfurled by the participants of Making for Change – LCF’s fashion manufacturing programme located in Poplar Works – after a short speech by President and Vice-Chancellor of UAL, James Purnell. The banners have been designed and made by women from the local Tower Hamlets and wider communities, current LCF students and emerging designers from East London including designer and alumna, Ellen Rock. The banners represent values of inclusivity, collaboration and authenticity alongside the themes of sustainability, community, and accessible education for all. They encapsulate the heart of LCF’s community and represent London College of Fashion’s ethos of shaping lives through fashion. The banners will be displayed in the new building on completion. Guests, to be amongst the first people to see the new campus, included the Mayor of Waltham Forest, Councillor Elizabeth Baptiste.

Speaking at the event Head of College and Pro-Vice Chancellor, Professor Roni Brown said, “For the first time in our long history, London College of Fashion will be moving its staff and students from six sites across London, from Shepherd’s Bush to Hackney, to our new home in East Bank. That’s a unique creative community of 6,500 staff and students enabling them to collaborate in new ways, develop cross-disciplinary thinking and create a new socially-connected campus. It will allow us to invest in our civic role and our purpose, to create better lives through fashion.

She continued: “Our new home will catalyse our mission in new ways. This is particularly the case for the public programme where we will have for the first time, the spaces to showcase fashion education, research and innovation and develop and engage audiences locally and internationally. Visitors will be able to use our building and be active members of our community. We built along biophilic principles, placing the experience of the people using the building at its heart.”

A beautiful civic building both inside and out, three floors of the new LCF campus will be publicly accessible, with a café, gallery, world class archive, social learning environments, social enterprise space, and a maker’s square that will host public talks and workshops. Throughout the design and construction, LCF has placed sustainability as one of its key goals for the building. Jason Millett, Mace’s Chief Executive Officer for Consultancy, said, “Mace is delighted to celebrate this major milestone with London College of Fashion, UAL, in the delivery of Stratford Waterfront, a cultural and educational landmark, not just for London, but for the UK as a whole. As the LLDC’s project management partner and the principal contractor on Stratford Waterfront, Mace is proud to continue to build on the fantastic legacy of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park through the provision of a new state-of-art campus for London College of Fashion, UAL. Designed to achieve a BREEAM Outstanding rating – the highest rating that can be achieved – this new building will provide students with facilities which will encourage collaboration and inspire innovation for a host of new designers and creatives who will continue to make London one of the world’s top fashion capitals.”

The ceremony also recognised the vital support of donors such as The Portal Trust who have provided LCF with a significant grant of £4 million towards the new campus and LCFs social responsibility activities, which include the Making for Change programme. Richard Foley, Chief Executive of The Portal Trust said; “On behalf of all at The Portal Trust, we are honoured to witness this significant milestone in London College of Fashion’s history. Having worked closely with the College for over a decade now, we are delighted to support this outstanding new development which will benefit so many young people in east London and beyond.”