20th November 2017

Making sense of Camberwell College of Arts

Camberwell is regarded as one of the UK’s foremost art and design institutions; notable alumni include Quentin Blake, Jeff Banks, Des’ree, Tim Roth, Maggi Hambling and Mike Leigh and is one of the campus of University of the Arts London.

The Camberwell campus is complex, comprising of two Victorian buildings, a 1970s block and two brand new state-of-the-art buildings.

Challenges included a maze of corridors within the Victorian buildings along with a bridge link. The bridge joins the ground floor of the Victorian buildings to the first floor of the 1970s block! Inconsistent nomenclature and level numbering within lifts also abounded. The new wayfinding scheme was to be temporary pending possible developments to the UAL brand architecture.

We usually aim to develop simple, intuitive schemes which rely on being easily seen with strong visual references. However these factors did not exist at Camberwell… and so the scheme had to be overt!

The buildings were named Block A (1970s building), Block B (brand new building behind Block A), Blocks C and D (the two interconnected Victorian buildings). Gardens House kept its name as it is not connected directly to the other 4 buildings. Floor graphics have been employed to explain the relationship between the blocks. Cross-section directory diagrams encompassing the whole campus explain the horizontal relationship and links between the blocks. These primary wayfinding elements are supported by numerous secondary directional graphics – both wall and floor mounted – along with tertiary labelling.

Since completing Camberwell, Whybrow Pedrola are now embarking on sister college at Chelsea. It’s another complex campus and we are working with the students as part of the process.