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AJ SPECIFICATION CASE STUDY

AJ Specification: Chadwick Hall student accommodation by Henley Halebrown

Photos case3 index
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Bespoke load bearing bricks bring a sense of weight to this student housing in the gardens of a Georgian Villa. Photography by David Grandorge

This scheme is set in the gardens of the Grade II*-listed Downshire House, a Georgian villa which itself borders London County Council’s renowned Modernist Alton West Estate (also Grade II*-listed). LCC’s architects sought to co-opt Roehampton’s villas, like follies, into their utopian housing scheme overlooking Richmond Park.

Our work here is informed by both of these traditions. The brief sought 210 en suite student bedrooms. These are provided in three new buildings, called the North, West and South Residences. Each employs a distinct plan type – two are villas, the third a Modernist pinwheel plan. Two are paired around an existing sunken garden on the site of a long-since demolished villa by Soane.

Photos case3 1

Photos case3 1

Site plan

Site plan

The third lies on an axis with the sunken garden to the south of Downshire House, completing an ensemble with the house that creates a theatre for the students’ social life in this sylvan setting. Inside, rooms are clustered into apartments or terraces for groups of six to 12 students. Shared living spaces, depending on type, are arranged around entrances or to command fine views.

The three new residences pay homage to both the Georgian and the post-war architecture through their use of material and composition. The elevational treatments, together with the generous fenestration, enforce a sense of permanence and weight shared by their predecessors.

Simon Henley, principal, Henley Halebrown

Site section a a

Site section a a

Photos case3 2

Photos case3 2

Site section b b

Site section b b

Specification

The construction encases conventional, concrete-framed structures inside freestanding, load-bearing masonry walls. The interiors are therefore wrapped in heavy ‘ruins’, deep walls, that incorporate a balcony for each room, an intentionally theatrical device mediating between the remarkable landscape and the more private realm of each student’s room. 

Each façade is of load-bearing brickwork and precast concrete, the geometry of the wall generating a variety of apertures and balcony configurations. The first, a French window and Juliette balcony set behind the wall, is deployed on the North and West Residences. 

Juliette detail

Juliette detail

The second, a bay window, is used on the north façade of the South Residence to capture east and west light and on the south façade to mitigate overlooking. 

The third inverts the form of the bay window and uses broken ‘arrowhead’ brick piers to form recessed, half-hexagonal balconies.

West residence detail section

West residence detail section

Brickwork is generally flush-pointed with recessed joints at junctions with the precast concrete string courses, entablatures and parapets. Henley Halebrown worked with brick manufacturer Floren to develop a bespoke brick mix for the project, subtly variegated to complement existing brick structures and buildings on the site. The pigmented mortar and precast elements were carefully chosen to provide further subtle changes in hue, a counterpoint to the monolithic grandeur of the compositions.

This architecture of walls, trabeation and deep structural openings purposefully emphasise the enduring properties of architecture and so, too, the characteristics of the academic institution itself. 

Simon Henley, principal, Henley Halebrown

Bay window detail

Bay window detail

Project data

Start on site 2014 
Completion 2017
Gross internal floor area 6,365m2
Form of contract Design and Build
Construction cost £12.6 million
Cost per m2 £1,980 
Architect Henley Halebrown
Client Roehampton University
Structural engineer Buro Happold/ Campbell Reith
MEP consultant Skelly & Couch
QS BWA/Gardiner & Theobald
Project manager Gardiner & Theobald
Planning consultant Boyer Planning
Heritage consultant Urban Counsel
Approved inspector MLM
Acoustic consultant KP Acoustics
Transport consultant Royal Haskoning
Lanscape architect Gross.Max
Biodiversity consultant Skilled Ecology
Main contractor Morgan Sindall
CAD software used Vectorworks

Photos case3 3

Photos case3 3

West residence plan

West residence plan

South residence plan

South residence plan

North residence plan

North residence plan

 

 

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