A new community space was opened at Imperial College’s White City Campus last weekend.
The Invention Rooms, which the College describes as “a unique space for community innovation in White City”, were opened during a free public event last Saturday, 28th October. The venue includes the ‘Reach Out Makerspace’, which allows young people to have access to equipment for design and manufacturing, and will host collaborative programmes with schools from the local area, teaching them how to develop and produce an idea.
The Invention Rooms will also play host to the Imperial College Advanced Hackspace (ICAH). The ICAH, which was founded in 2014, provides access to manufacturing equipment for staff and students; one of their core aims is “to build a community of like-minded makers and experimenters.” Professor Oscar Ces, a member of the ICAH board, said that the new space would “stimulate interaction and collaboration, not just across the College, but also with external partners, small and medium-sized enterprises, industry, and the local community.”
“The space will also play host to the Imperial College Advanced Hackspace”
Professor Maggie Dallman, Associate Provost (Academic Partnerships), who is the College’s academic lead on Outreach Strategy, described the centre as “a beacon for community-driven innovation”, and said that “The impact of this will be transformative, boosting opportunity, aspiration and innovation in White City and beyond for decades to come.” She also highlighted the importance of working with the community: “This means listening to their needs, tapping into their talents, and – crucially – opening our doors.” On their website, the College say that they are “committed to making a positive impact in the local area” around White City, and wish to “work together with White City residents, businesses, and organisations.”
The Invention Rooms are the latest section of the Imperial College White City Campus. Imperial College first bought land in White City back in 2009; the northern half of the campus was granted planning permission in 2012, and construction has been progressing since then. The Molecular Sciences Research Hub is set to open in 2018, and will provide a new home for the Department of Chemistry.
The campus is dominated by a 35-storey tower, which saw its topping out ceremony in September. The tower, whose £76.2 million contract was awarded to Laing O’Rourke, will provide 133 private housing units, and 59 units available to Imperial ‘key workers’. The St Helens Residents Association in North Kensington has been campaigning against the development for the last six years, accusing the College of acting like an “aggressive property developer when it comes to the planning and design of its buildings, and their impact on their neighbours.”
The Invention Rooms will be expanded in spring 2018, with the addition of new venue space and a café.