Mitsui Fudosan joined our cultural regeneration forum in April to talk about its involvement the £500 million development of the British Library with new entrances and exhibition spaces, helping to widen the library's visitor numbers and through the building programme, and enhance the evolving science and arts Knowledge Quarter in King's Cross St Pancras.
David Height. Director of Planning and Engineering at Mitsui Fudosan, who is leading the new developments said the project is '.very much a re-casting of the library's mission for the 21st century. Initially it was conceived as an academic space where those using it would have for example, a copy of the Gutenberg Bible physically in front of them to read on a desk.'
The library, David explained, is always expanding its collection and will in the future have a much wider community, a different layout with a larger foyer and exhibition spaces, that will draw in new visitors - as well as a home for the Alan Turing Institute. There will be a commercial element which will help pay for the new public spaces and access. Watch David speaking in the video clip above.
The library on its site next to St Pancras International station and The Francis Crick Institute, sits at a pivotal point of perhaps the largest and most important arts/science research and teaching cluster in London, prospering because of its infrastructure links not only within the capital but to Europe and regional cities too.
David continued 'our role is to create a 'big whole' to the project as it opens up and to develop it as a meeting space. There is a connectedness to it (through rail links) and an important interchange, where visitors from Europe as well as the UK, would find it convenient and appropriate through their travel plans to visit too'.
On David's panel at our event, there was also discussion about developing a powerful arts/science district in Battersea, where the Royal College of Art has commissioned a new state of the art building designed by Herzog & de Meuron, which includes 16,000 square meters of studios, workshops, laboratories and research centres, extending its curriculum to include nano and soft robotics, material science and the circular economy.
The RCA's Vice-Chancellor Dr Paul Thompson, has also worked with Mitsui Fudosan on developing the highly successful new arts/science hub at White City, West London - where Imperial College London has a major new campus - and where discussions are taking place to formulate new innovation partnerships.