I went to art college at Central St. Martin’s College of Art & Design in London. one of the best times of my life. One of the things that made it the best was the college, physically speaking. A modernist brick-frame style building with creaky rusted and foggy single pane windows that didn’t always close properly, the heating system was old, there was no A/C, I had a studio on the 8th floor – no elevator, the studios were only made of partition walls and sometimes they didn’t go all the way up, it was great, your textbook art college facility.

Expansion was on the horizon: the college was part of the then London Institute, which towards the end of my training re-branded itself the University of the Arts London (on my diploma) and expanded, acquiring Byam Shaw and eventually the Wimbledon School of Art.

the Alumni Association is superb, and they routinely publish a magazine which they send out to all their alums. the Spring/Summer 2007 edition arrived across the pond last week and I finally sat down to read it yesterday. In the opening pages it told of the NEW HOME FOR CENTRAL SAINT MARTINS:

Central Saint Martins (CSM) has revealed ambitious plans to move from five sites to one state-of-the-art building at King’s Cross. Seeking to bring students and staff under one purpose-built roof, CSM is looking to provide flexible teaching, work, exhibition, research, study and performance spaces that reflect the dynamic nature of 21st century art and design education. With plans to move in 2010, the College proposes to occupy a mix of new and Grade II listed buildings at the heart of the 67-acre site being developed by Argent property developers.

Holy smokes.

future CSM site 1
future CSM site 2

not that I’ll miss the old facility, but it certainly provided moments of hilarity and amusement, and was what made going to the studio everyday so exciting, having to go down nine flights of stairs to get a tea, to walk back up; when going down to see others walking up, winded; to have open windows behind partition walls in the winter, so cold we huddled together in groups during critiques for warmth. the site influenced some work. what will the new facility provide, influence? it will be interesting to see how the degree shows change.