The Lower Refectory is located at lower ground floor level in the Grade I listed Wilkins building, and occupies a key location connecting the new Wilkins Terrace with the forthcoming New Student Centre (currently on site). The new facility provides a reconfigured dining hall, servery, kitchen and catering support facilities to service UCL’s Bloomsbury campus.
The Dining Hall has been relocated to the heart of the Wilkins Building to inhabit the original grand double height arched space, whilst the servery and support facilities have been relocated to the secondary spaces below the existing Bloomsbury Theatre and the new Wilkins Terrace.
The existing suspended ceilings and interstitial plant deck in the main space have been removed allowing the original masonry arches and clerestory windows to be exposed again, re-establishing double height day lighting to both sides of the dining hall, providing UCL with a grand collegiate dining facility at the heart of the Bloomsbury Campus.
The main entrance to the servery align with a new north-south route that will be created once the New Student Centre project is completed. In order to improve the connection between the North and South Colonnades and across campus, the glazing to these facades has been restored and additional entrance doors have been added.
Fixed tall banquette seats align with the existing arched piers and provide defined spaces within the dining hall linked with a large, dramatic circular light installation. The east and west ends of the dining hall have more intimate seating areas and a hospitality bar (for events) with lowered acoustic timber ceilings creating added intimacy. The flanking orangery spaces have more informal low banquette seating, and a stone floor finish enhances the connectivity with the external colonnades and terrace.