SOAS University of London celebrated the opening of the Paul Webley Wing in the North Block of Senate House as part of its Centenary celebrations.
The new space will provide a vastly enhanced study hub for students, immediately adjacent to the main SOAS campus in Russell Square, Bloomsbury, and will comprise a mixture of teaching spaces, social spaces, academic offices and open plan office space to complement SOAS’s already vibrant and cosmopolitan campus.
The redevelopment of the iconic Senate House building includes the construction of the Eychaner Atrium, an airy plaza housed under a double curvature glass canopy. Within the building, the Weston Student Hub will provide a range of services for students, including accommodation, counselling, course registration, student finance, careers and enterprise advice.
A major part of enhancing the learning, research and knowledge opportunities for students is in the creation of new social learning spaces. These creative areas will provide welcoming, flexible spaces for people to meet and discuss ideas in an informal setting.
These areas will complement the new, state-of-the-art formal learning environments such as lecture theatres and seminar rooms.
The new wing is named in honour of Professor Paul Webley, who was the eighth director of SOAS. Professor Webley’s wife, Julie Dawick, officially opened the building on 8th September, and there were speeches by SOAS Director Baroness Valerie Amos CH, and two representatives of the SOAS Students’ Union, Adwoa Darko and Ayesha Abbasi.
Attendees at the event included Ambassadors and High Commissioners of countries from across Asia, Africa and the Middle East; SOAS Honorary Fellows, including Michael Palin; donors who generously supported the building’s development; and staff and students from SOAS. The event was accompanied by a music performance, a selection of short lectures by SOAS academics, and a Japanese tea ceremony.