The University of London’s £140 million student residential development, Gardens Halls has been officially opened by Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal.
The flagship redevelopment between the University of London and the University Partnerships Programme (UPP) is one of the largest student residential developments in London. The partnership, established in 2013, involved UPP designing and financing the scheme, thereafter operating the scheme for 50 years, and will help the University of London to continue its current trajectory; to grow and develop as one of the most significant academic institutions in the Country.
Designed by executive architect, tp bennett, in partnership with Maccreanor Lavington, who was the architect for the principal façades, the new 59,831 sq m building provides the University with a 18 per cent net increase in capacity, which amounts to an additional 187 beds.
The accommodation consists of both catered and non-catered and includes a variety of rooms to suit different student needs including en-suite bedrooms, townhouses, cluster flats, accessible studios, and apartment bedrooms.
The final design is built over an entire urban block and comprised the main nine-storey building facing onto Cartwright Gardens, a 6-storey corner building on Leigh Street and townhouses on Sandwich Street. The new buildings are internally interlinked to form a single base that houses communal facilities including a garden café, communal areas, flexible meeting rooms, cinema room, music and games rooms, as well as cycle storage and tennis courts. The scheme also re-clad and refurbished the existing 15-storey Hughes Parry Tower.
For the façade design, Maccreanor Lavington took its cues from the larger Victorian and Edwardian buildings that have been previously added to the fabric of Bloomsbury. The design shows a meticulous approach to scale, order and relief. The main build material on the nine-storey façade is buff water struck Petersen brick, offset by white reconstituted Portland stone and glazed terracotta, with a darker water struck Petersen brick used on the 6-storey building to match the soot coloured brick buildings in the surrounding area.
The entire façade was manufactured off-site as brick faced precast concrete panels, which generated cost and time efficiencies.
Image courtesy of Tim Crocker.