The planning committee of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham has approved plans for a new 35-storey tower and new university buildings called Imperial West.
The scheme has been speared-headed by Imperial College London who see residential real estate development as a good way to raise cash that can be reinvested in new facilities for the academic institution, much like Coin Street Community Builders who have planned a tower for the South Bank to pay for a new swimming pool.
Designed by Aukett Fitzroy Robinson and PLP Architecture, the project is planned for Wood Lane that sits to the east of Imperial College London's Hammersmith campus. It is the latest phase of an on-going masterplan that has already seen the Imperial West Wood Lane Studios rise that offer accommodation for 606 post-graduates that sits on the northern part of the site.
In the centre of the masterplan will be a new public square modeled on the likes of Hanover Square and Fitzroy Square. About an acre in size, this should provide a new green area for the borough that will be open to the public 24/7 as well as provide a pleasant backdrop to pedestrians taking new routes through the site.
Heading the project will be the new Imperial School of Public Health, with ten floors above ground plus a basement level. The building will offer research and teaching facilities aimed at the public health sector, along with a new GP practise and day case facilities that will provide services for local residents.
Imperial is also planning a Technology Transfer Building. This will be a part six, part thirteen floor building set around a glazed central atrium. It's intended to work partly as a facility for teaching people about the modern business environment, and also to work as a location for tech start-ups.
The purpose is to try and attract small businesses to it, and then have them utilise the latest technology and with the help of the university grow. It's a plan that has worked well in leading American universities - the likes of Yahoo! And Google both sprang from Stanford University in California.
The landmark element of the development is the residential aspect. This includes a tower that will be 141-metre tall to the tip of its spires on the south-west of the site which will contain 192 apartments aimed at the private market to help subsidise the scheme.
There will also be further blocks offering accommodation for the trainee doctors and academic staff who will work at the new Imperial facilities - a recognition from the university that attracting and retaining staff can be difficult when they are faced with west London property prices that are substantially higher than rival institutions such as Cambridge experience.