Opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 2004, the Tanaka Business School acts as the main entrance and atrium to Imperial College. The £26 million building costs were met by alumnus Dr Gary Tanaka, hence the building’s original name. However, in October 2008 the building was renamed the Imperial College Business School to emphasise the connection with the college.
The high-tech building was designed by Foster + Partners and gives Imperial College a very strong presence and identity on Exhibition Road. The dramatic white colonnade stands proudly forward on to the pavement and the six-storey stainless steel drum inside, which contains six lecture theatres, also catches the attention of passers-by.
The 24-metre high glass façade hangs from the roof and wind loads are carried back to the columns via slender T-section struts. A cantilevered steel staircase rises the full height of the drum, providing additional access to the upper floors of office accommodation in the neighbouring Royal School of Mines.
Foster + Partners
Foster + Partners also designed other buildings at Imperial College:
Sir Alexander Fleming Building, which was opened by HM The Queen in 1998.
Flowers Building, a relatively small building serving as a research facility and opened in 2001.
Imperial College Faculty Building, a distinctive four-storey blue glass office building set in the centre of the campus and completed in 2004.
Lord Foster of Foster + Partners is the one of the most influential and prolific British architects today. He has designed some of London's most recent landmarks including the Greater London Assembly building and the gherkin-shaped 30 St Mary Axe.