17 June, 2024
Transforming student experiences with a satellite campus for UWS in East London
At East India Docks, overlooking Canary Wharf, we worked with the University of the West of Scotland to create a brand-new learning environment for business students, featuring a series of flexible spaces for teaching, collaboration and communication.

The challenge              

Creating a dynamic new teaching facility for business students of UWS, at a brand-new satellite campus in East London.

The solution            

Drawing on the corporate surroundings to inspire students to their future careers, we created a series of flexible spaces for teaching, collaboration and communication amongst students and teachers.

The result            

Such was the success of the initial space that it attracted record student numbers and the university elected to take on an additional 25,000 sq ft space next door, which we also did the design and fit-out for.


Seeking to expand their offering as well as attract more students from different parts of the UK and around the world, the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) decided to locate a satellite campus at East India Docks overlooking Canary Wharf.

They chose the location where many aspire to work, knowing that it not only opens a whole new market for them, but it also diversifies the student experience, placing them in the heart of an area where people seek to work in after they graduate.

Success and expansion

The newly expanded campus featured two projects. The first is a next generation learning space on the seventh floor of the impressive innovation campus, the Import Building. They chose to work with Maris because of our forward-thinking approach, our rapid turnaround capabilities, our knowledge of the location, and our cross-sector experience both in higher education and commercial property.

Within a year of completion, the new space had attracted record student numbers, so the university chose took on additional 25,000 sq. ft next door. This second space added further teaching space as well as a library at the Export Building. The building is the latest addition to the East London location, complete with nine floors wrapped around an impressive full-height central atrium and facing an impressive water garden. Once again, they chose to work with Maris.


“I just wanted to thank you and your team for all your work on our new London Campus, the result is fantastic, and you’ve helped create a campus that staff and students can be proud of.  From our first meetings we were impressed with your helpfulness, knowledge, and general approach, which led us to short-list Maris to tender the project. Your bid was spot on in terms of what we required to create an aspirational learning environment. You were able to show how you could make best use of the space and create the vibrant look and feel that we have on our other campuses. Coronavirus lockdown brought with it a few challenges, but from an end-user perspective we didn’t feel the impact, as your team dealt with it so efficiently. The fact that we were able to project manage from a distance is a credit to the professionalism of the team.  We really enjoyed the entire project journey with Maris, are happy to recommend you and look forward to our on-going relationship.”

Lucie Pollard, Director London Campus at UWS

A new way of learning at UWS

The design of the spaces needed to honour the UWS award-winning Lanarkshire campus just outside Glasgow, which is known for being one of the UK’s greenest educational environments. Crucially, the layout, style and facilities needed to reflect the university’s forward-thinking nature, away from didactic teaching patterns and towards a more collaborative, peer-to-peer approach.

As the spaces focused on the university’s business courses, the location overlooking the famous hub of business at Canary Wharf, made perfect sense. Therefore, we designed the space around the look and feel of a corporate office, reminding students that this is an experience that’s about their future, recognising that they are adults, no longer at school. 

Alongside panoramic views of London Docklands, we created technology-rich, flexible breakout and study spaces that encourage interaction and collaboration. Student lounges, library areas and lecture rooms are connected by clear pathways, while a variety of seating areas give people options on where and how to work as it suits them.


The future of higher education

Attracting students from around the world and receiving positive feedback from day one, the UWS’s East London campus is the perfect example of how modern universities can transform the learning experience to meet the wants and needs of contemporary students. The result is an environment that feels relevant to their career prospects, both enabling and inspiring them to learn better.

“The spaces that we have created with UWS are the epitome of modern teaching, recognising that university students are looking for vibrant communities where they can learn, test ideas and prepare for the working world. The location, the buildings and the interior layout all contribute to those goals, setting students up for life.”

Alex Hunt, Managing Director at Maris Interiors

Are you looking to modernise your student experience?

Speak to the team at Maris