Penoyre & Prasad has added a copper-clad roof extension to 373 Euston Road and transformed the building into a new campus for Birkbeck, University of London.


Penoyre & Prasad – an arm of the architecture and design firm Perkins&Will – refurbished and extended the 1920s building to include a 180-person lecture theatre alongside a new suite of classrooms and learning spaces close to Birkbeck’s main Malet Street Campus.

The seven-storey building houses a cafe and a learning hub across its ground and basement levels, while teaching spaces and the lecture theatre are set across its upper floors. The rooftop extension is a dedicated to the lecture theatre and a 25-person classroom.


The design of the roof extension, which angles out from the original facade and is clad in reflective copper panels, is designed as a “welcoming gesture” on the busy corner of Euston Road and Cleveland Street.

The smaller extension juxtaposes the scale of the existing building, a concept devised to address both the large-scale buildings of Euston Road and the more domestic buildings of Warren Street, which the campus backs onto.

Floor-to-ceiling windows at street level look in on a stepped study space linking student socialising space in the basement with the ground level, and look out at Sir John Soane’s Grade I-listed Holy Trinity Church diagonally opposite.

“Our aim for this project was to breathe new life into the existing building and give Birkbeck a dynamic presence in a prominent location,” says Penoyre & Prasad principal Mark Rowe.

“The timber formed, copper clad, twisted lecture theatre protrudes from above the building, creating a striking moment that can be recognised from afar, whilst providing the much-needed teaching spaces. Views into the basement through ample glazed shop windows capture the curiosity of passers-by, creating an engaging space for the public and building users.”

The project is part of a wider expansion of the teaching and study spaces at Birkbeck, which is the only university in the UK to run courses exclusively in the evenings, and was completed in time for the beginning of the 2021 academic year.

“The timely completion of this excellent building will mean that we will open it and begin to use it as a teaching facility as we welcome students back for the start of the new academic year after 18 months of largely remote learning during the pandemic,” says Deputy Director of Estates Development Van Nguyen.

Additional images and drawings


Penoyre & Prasad
Structural engineer
Webb Yates
Services consultant
Skelly & Couch
Project manager

Planning consultant
Turley Associates
Transport consultants
Alan Baxter Associates
Acoustic consultant
Acoustics Central
BREEAM Assessor
Scott White & Hookins
Cost consultant
Artelia UK
PFB Construction Management Services
Fire engineer
Birkbeck, University of London