University College London has extended a tentacle north of its native Bloomsbury, to occupy this whopper of a building on Hampstead Road. The sprawling complex, which includes a moribund filling station next door, will house the Bartlett School of Architecture during a revamp of its existing premises. The outpost will also act as temporary admin space while parts of the main campus are upgraded to a masterplan.
Despite its quotidian appearance, 132-140 Hampstead Road has both an interesting recent past and future. Last year, it was hired by Secret Cinema for a spectacular screening of sci-fi flick Prometheus. A few months ago, police broke up a 13-hour illegal rave, which had scared off the aliens. Now it’s the turn of the students.
Longterm, despite striking plans to redevelop the site, a more likely future is a date with the wrecking ball. The complex stands on land to be requisitioned for the High Speed 2 rail line, shortly after the end of UCL’s planned tenancy in September 2018. However, the University has bagged a clause to extend the lease, should HS2 be delayed.
Image from Google Street View.