James McCune Smith Learning Hub tops out

Published: 8 July 2019

Key point reached in construction of new learning and teaching hub

The University of Glasgow celebrated a key milestone in the construction of the £90 million James McCune Smith Learning Hub, with a ceremony for its topping out.

The University’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, and the Vice Principal who has led the project, Professor Frank Coton, laid the final section of concrete, alongside Multiplex’s Operation Director (Europe), Andrew Ridley-Barker, and Patrick Clark from HLM Architects, who designed the building.

The topping out marks the completion of the building’s frame. A yew tree was also ceremonially raised by the youngest member of the construction team, in accordance with traditional topping out practice.


Prof Muscatelli said: “It’s tremendously exciting to see the progress being made on the James McCune Smith Learning Hub, and I would like to congratulate all our construction partners, on their work to this point.

“Once complete, this will be a fantastic new facility, enhancing our world-class learning and teaching credentials, and helping to inspire future generations of students and staff at the University of Glasgow.”

The James McCune Smith Learning Hub is due to complete next year and will be fully operational for the start of academic year 2020.

It will accommodate over 2,500 students, providing a mix of flexible study and social learning space with technology-enhanced teaching. Facilities will include a 500-seater lecture theatre as well as smaller interactive teaching and seminar spaces.

Opening onto University Avenue, the ground floor will house a publicly-accessible café and events spaces.


Andrew Ridley-Barker, Operations Director (Europe) at Multiplex, said: “Working closely with the University of Glasgow, and alongside our supply chain partners, we are delighted to have reached this significant milestone in the first project in the University’s substantial development programme.

The whole team is focussed on delivering this world-class facility for the benefit of the next generation of students, as well as the wider Glasgow Community.”

Patrick Clark, Project Lead Consultant at HLM Architects, said: “It has been a privilege to lead the design process on the James McCune Smith Learning Hub, working collaboratively with the University of Glasgow throughout. Our team have been inspired by user-group consultation at all levels emphasising the student experience now and as it will develop in the future, to provide an environment that is open and accessible for all. Through the inclusion of flexible, active learning spaces and technology-enabled teaching resources, this will be a world leading educational facility for a world changing University.”

First published: 8 July 2019