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© Valerie Bennett

Brunel Student Residences – Isambard Complex

We teamed up with Sheppard Robson Architects to develop a series of seventeen residential buildings with stylish, colourful frontages in a range of materials in this west London development for Brunel University. Part of a huge masterplan for expansion which incorporated many sections, Phase Six offered an internal area of 30,200 m² split amongst 1,400 student bedrooms and associated facilities.

The site, located on the western side of the Uxbridge Campus, was surrounded on three sides by private residential housing and on the fourth by both existing campus buildings and open space. Three-storey residential units dating back to the 1970s were programmed for demolition prior to start on site; both super- and substructure had to be removed. The Environment Agency was heavily involved, both at this stage and later in the construction; we needed to ensure that potential contamination in the vicinity of a previous Motor Club be removed, but the site for the most part required minimal remediation.

The seventeen residential blocks were each five storeys tall, with a single three-storey social hub / administration block close by. We considered a number of construction options to maximise value and speed, and the chosen design allowed completion to take place three months before the target deadline. The buildings’ symmetry and simplicity of form led us to decide on a cross-wall solution throughout the project.

We rejected tunnel form construction, since on Phase Four of the scheme there had been issues with this form of construction affecting working hours, and adopted a twinwall system instead. This was possible throughout, with the exception of locations with large glazed openings, for which RC blade columns were used instead. In terms of stability, we used a combination of the horizontal diaphragm action provided by floor plates, and sway frame action provided by the buildings’ cellular structure and central lift cores.

17 residential buildings with brightly coloured façades to provide 1,400 new student rooms

LOCATION
London, UK
CLIENT
Brunel University
ARCHITECT
Sheppard Robson
PROJECT VALUE
£ 54 million
FLOOR AREA
30,200 m²
COMPLETION
2009