grafton architects’ winning design is finally realized


with the return of in-person learning, students at the london school of economics (LSE) step into a ‘vortex for learning’ designed by grafton architects. the design for the newly completed marshall building was selected in 2016 from a strong shortlist which included david chipperfield, diller scofidio + renfro, and herzog & de meuron (see designboom’s coverage here). with their studio based in dublin, the architects watched the final phases of their university building remotely, noting that ‘facetime calls just aren’t the same.’

london school economics grafton
image © nick kane | @nickkane2008



a new facade in london


although the team at grafton architects (see more here) have not yet had a chance to visit the building, students and professors of the london school of economics are finally arriving — and what a place to be! the marshall building is the first public LSE presence which faces lincoln’s inn fields, the largest public square in london and — established in the 1630s — one of its oldest. this field-facing facade is at once recognized by its rhythmic vertical louvres, vertical elements which get increasingly dense with elevation. 

london school economics graftonimage © nick kane



inside the london school of economics’ marshall building


inside the london school of economics’ marshall building, the space opens widely into a lofty entrance hall. the team at grafton architects celebrates the structure, which they express as massive concrete trees with dramatic, angled branches. these branches cross through the building vertically by bursting through the ceilings toward the floors above. meanwhile, visitors are invited to travel upward through the project by way of a large spiral staircase. on the ground level, the floor itself is actually designed with a slight slope — with a  one-meter difference from one end of the site to the other.



project info:


project title: paul marshall building

architecture: grafton architects | @graftonarchitects

location: london school of economics, lincoln’s inn fields, london

completion: 2022

photography: © nick kane | @nickkane2008


civil and structural engineer: AKT II
mechanical, electrical and public health engineer: chapman BDSP
transport consultant: steer davies gleave
fire engineer: chapman BDSP
landscape architecture: dermot foley landscape architects
acoustic engineer: AAD applied acoustic design
facade engineer: billings design associates
working / learning environment/ loose furniture, fittings and equipment consultant: burwell deakins