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Location: University of Southampton

Client: University of Southampton / Osborne

Value: £45m

Status: Completed 2014

Mayflower Halls

Mayflower Halls Student Accommodation for the University of Southampton, designed by ArchitecturePLB, home to 1100 plus students opened its doors in September 2014.

ArchitecturePLB, working with developer Osborne, responded to the University of Southampton OJEU by first using our local knowledge and contacts to draw up a shortlist of potential sites. The long list of sites included vacant land adjacent to the Mayflower Theatre, offering an excellent opportunity for a city centre presence for the University. Working with the land owner, Terrace Hill, a successful joint bid was assembled.

The site, described by the local Chamber of Commerce as ‘A jewel in Southampton’s crown”, had seen numerous attempts at regeneration over a 20-year period. With the backing of the University, a viable use was found which was strongly supported by the Local Authority.

ArchitecturePLB worked closely with Planning and Conservation officers and the City Design Manager, to ensure that the design was appropriate to its historic setting, within a conservation area and close to several buildings and park. The resulting scheme has a strong visual identity, which uses massing, proportions and materials to relate to the context, whilst retaining a clearly contemporary language.


A key tool in the successful delivery of the project was the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM). A detailed architectural model was created and, working with the structural engineer and M&E sub-contractor, was fully co-ordinated with the structural and services design. Key outputs from the model have included all general arrangement information, details of major components and setting-out.

Three separate blocks make up Mayflower Halls, ranging from 9 to 17 stories in height. The accommodation is typically arranged in 8 to 10 en-suite study bed clusters, sharing a communal kitchen and living space. A broad offer of alternative accommodation is available with self-contained single and double room studios being incorporated throughout the blocks.

The scheme utilises a combination of sustainable features including a ‘fabric-first’ approach to the thermal performance of the envelope, green roofs and water heating provided by the local district heating system. It has received BREEAM Excellent rating at the design stage.

In addition to ArchitecturePLB’s key role in the main scheme, we were also appointed directly by University of Southampton to deliver the fitout of the commercial spaces, which include a large gym, supermarket and learning space/ cafe.