Why did Goldsmiths need a
Goldsmiths has encountered rapid expansion over the last
two decades, producing a serious problem of overcrowding.
The Visual Arts Department was spread over several locations,
very little of which was 'fit for purpose'. In addition, a
number of other departments within the College were severely
overcrowded and lacked appropriate facilities. To retain its
international reputation the College needed to develop, improve
and expand its capabilities and could not do this without
additional space and improved facilities.
The new complex will accommodate the Visual Arts Department,
as well as the Centre for Cognition, Computation and Culture,
and Goldsmiths Digital Studios, freeing up space within current
buildings, which will be refurbished and utilised by other
departments within the College.
How much did
the new development cost?
The total cost was £10.2 million.
Where did the money come
The Ben Pimlott Building was funded through grants from
the Higher Education Funding Council (£4.2m) with the
balance being met from College reserves generated from building
sales, in line with the College’s strategy to concentrate
its estate on one campus. The proceeds from such sales are
required to be ploughed back into the College's estate and
are not available for 'day to day' expenditure.
Would the money
not have been better spent on improving current resources?
No. However we improve our existing facilities, it would
not provide the additional accommodation required for our
expansion plan, which in itself, will provide additional income
to the College and enable us to improve facilities elsewhere.
What are the buildings being
The building houses studios for visual arts students, lecture
theatres, offices, advanced digital media facilities and scientific
laboratories, including a new Centre for Cognition, Culture
The Centre brings together multi-disciplinary research on
the scientific bases of cognition, with the study of cultural
and sociological aspects of human cognition. It will investigate
how people learn and remember information to maximise the
effectiveness of teaching and learning, and explore the computational
processes that underlie everyday processes such as understanding
Psychologists working in the building will be utilising the
facilities to look at genetic, personality and social factors
in addiction to drugs, alcohol and smoking, or recognising
familiar objects. Work in cognitive anthropology will investigate
the influence of culture and language on visual perception.
A new multi-disciplinary research and postgraduate teaching
centre - Goldsmiths Digital Studios - will develop opportunities
for cross-fertilisation between visual arts practice, design,
computing, media and cultural theory.
Were environmental and sustainability
issues taken into account when constructing the building?
The buildings were designed with sustainable low energy
requirements in mind, in line with Government targets to reduce
energy consumption nationally, including the requirement to
adhere to ozone depletion regulations. In addition, natural
lighting and ventilation was used where possible.