Imperial College, London

A RIBA and BCO award winning building featuring SAS International ISM's containing passive chilled beams for efficient comfort cooling.

Key features




Imperial College


Foster + Partners

Main contractor

Buro Happold


SAS International

Completion year


System type

Integrated Service Modules | ISM

Area M2

825 linear metres


United Kingdom

Product Groups

The creation of a new four storey Faculty Building in an existing courtyard formed the key to the South Kensington campus redevelopment plan. The building sits at the south side of Dalby Court, a small site bordered on all four sides by existing 1950s and 1960s college buildings. The development allowed all faculty services to be combined in a single location and a number of existing spaces to be refurbished and redeveloped.

Construction incorporated a new home for the South Kensington campus Central Heat and Power (CHP) plant and a ramp which passes through the building that links two previously inaccessible parts of the campus, creating a new main access route.

The existing deck was extended to hide a service road, plant area and electricity sub station below and create a public space. A gently sloping ramp cuts diagonally through the building, creating a dramatic view of the Queen’s Tower and a much-needed shortcut through the campus, negotiating a 5-metre level change.

To reduce solar gain in the building and to help the building meet the requirements of Part L of the building regulations, a striking blue facade was designed by Danish artist Per Arnoldi and developed as a cost effective way of meeting the College’s requirements.

The building houses four levels of office accommodation, a combination of open plan spaces around the central core and cellular offices at the buildings periphery. The two basement levels provide parking spaces for 30 cars and secure storage for 600 bicycles, satisfying the requirement for the entire campus.

Integrated Service Modules (ISMs) from SAS International containing passive chilled beams are mounted on the soffit to provide efficient comfort cooling to the building’s occupants. Leaving the soffit exposed allowed Imperial College to unlock the benefits of Fabric Energy Storage or thermal mass cooling, which can provide an additional cooling potential of 25 W/m².

Along with luminaires the ISMs incorporated additional minimum fresh air supply ductwork motion and smoke detectors. Fire alarms and acoustic absorption pads were also integrated within the module.

Combining all these services into one unit provided an aesthetically pleasing and discrete cooling solution, which permitted both up and down lighting to brighten the occupied space.

The building has been commended on a number of occasions and has won both RIBA and BCO awards.

Systems used