PCKO, AN AHR COMPANY, WON THE BID FOR THIS PROJECT AS PART OF AN ESTABLISHED TEAM RESPONSIBLE FOR SUCCESSFULLY DELIVERING OVER 1500 STUDENT BEDROOMS ACROSS WALES. OUR ABILITY TO COMBINE A STRONG DESIGN APPROACH WITH THIS EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE, BENEFIT OF LESSONS LEARNT AND A COLLABORATIVE APPROACH ENSURED A SUCCESSFUL OUTCOME.
The University’s vision was highly aspirational; it would introduce market leading accommodation into the region with a clear focus on the quality of the residential experience. The process stimulated innovation which is reflected in our approach to the masterplan, architecture and interior design. The objective was to provide four star quality accommodation within the constraints of a competitive offer.
The masterplan creates a very high quality environment with a unique character rooted in the agricultural heritage of the site. The layout encourages a strong sense of community which is safe and pedestrian friendly. The design is highly efficient in terms of land use and supports expansion to the west to create a homogeneous residential campus in the future.
We felt that the standard solutions of furniture suppliers to the student market did not align with our vision of how students live now and in the future and did not address their needs.
The design has challenged furniture manufacturers to move their thinking forward to deliver modern furniture pieces that create an aspirational interior design concept whilst capturing the benefits of manufacturing quality and durability. We have developed a simple, complimentary range of bespoke furniture items which have created a spacious room with a high spec feel. The quality of the accommodation is a positive feature attracting students to the campus.
The construction solution favoured a variety of MMC options to accelerate construction speed and improve quality. Residential wings and cores are very repetitive in nature. The design uses an efficient and rational block type in ‘I’, ‘L’ and ‘T’ shaped configurations to create a diversity of character across the site. Across the campus, the materials palette is limited to brick, profiled metal cladding, zinc and two types of roofing tile, all employing standard components and construction detailing. By skilfully avoiding a sense of repetition the layout, architecture and materials palette creates areas with a unique character and identity within the campus, with each one fostering a real sense of ‘place’.
The Hub serves as a focal point for students to relax, socialise, work and access a range of support services and facilities essential to fostering an excellent residential experience. The principal architectural feature is a sculptural roof creating an iconic and visually distinct building. The roof form creates shelter to terraces, arcades and principal entrances, as well as over-shading to reduce glare in work areas and reduce overheating.
All key spaces are linked together by a glazed arcade fronting onto the new square. The design creates an open sequence of spaces with all parts of the building clearly visible and allows building users to easily orientate themselves and access Hub services.