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Location: Andover Road, Winchester

Client: Osborne / Amro

Value: £12.5m

Status: Completed June 2018

Cathedral Point

ArchitecturePLB were briefed to develop a scheme to provide in the region of 257 bed spaces.

Bedrooms are generally arranged in groups of 8 rooms sharing communal kitchen and dining facilities. A small number of larger self-contained studios and accessible rooms are also included. Ancillary facilities such as common rooms, laundry and staff areas are provided.

The site is located within the Station Approach area of the City, which represents an important gateway into the City and was identified by the Council as an area that offers the potential to become a distinctive quarter, providing a vibrant mix of uses and a welcoming arrival point.

The proposal is based on L-shaped inter-locking blocks with courtyard spaces between. Clusters vary in size, the majority at 8 rooms. The ground floor of each block is largely given over to ancillary spaces, the aim being to keep sleeping accommodation away from the access road.

Each cluster is served by a dedicated corridor with a secure access door. The corridors in every cluster benefit from a window at the end, which provides views and daylight and a chance to reorientate as one moves around the building.

The quality of the spaces is critical to the success of the scheme, they offer precious amenity value to the student population and an important visual amenity to passers-by. To that end, a high quality, robust and simple range of materials is proposed. To ensure that the spaces are as bright as possible, light coloured paving materials reflect as much light as possible around the spaces. Boundary treatments are a mix of planted screens and robust edge treatment to the railway boundary. Cycle storage are based on Sheffield hoops, set within secure shelters.

Regarding sustainability, the scheme incorporates elements of prefabrication. The bathroom pods were manufactured off site in factory conditions where, through repetition and careful design, waste is minimised. The factory conditions also allow high quality thresholds to be maintained.