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Curzon Circle, Compass Student Residences, Birmingham

By George Spreckley
GJP 8964

Compass is a landmark student accommodation project consisting of 290 self-contained studio apartments within an area of vast new development. It is located adjacent to the thriving Eastside and Gosta Green areas of Birmingham, which are home to Aston and Birmingham City University. It is also directly adjacent to the new Curzon HS2 terminal, which brings excellent transport links.

Designed by architects Glancy Nicholls, and delivered by contractors Torsion Group, the building consists of a prism-shaped 15-storey tower with a five-storey shoulder. The scheme is carefully configured to front onto the key Curzon vehicle and railway nodes into and out of the city whilst providing a responsive massing form to surrounding buildings.
In particular, the design complements the HS2 station with a low-level blue brickwork podium that references the local railway vernacular. A profiled metallic façade articulates the dynamic trapezoidal form of the tower element. The building is completed by a blue brick accommodation wing, which reinforces the urban grain of this corner plot site.

The bricks chosen were Ibstock Atlas Smooth Blue, an extruded brick with a smooth texture commonly preferred for its aesthetic values. The bricks are complemented by a composition of metallic silver finishes and black glass spandrels on the upper floors.

In addition to being an impressive contemporary addition to the Birmingham Eastside skyline, Compass is also an ambitious lifestyle-orientated project designed to give students a first-class place to live, study and feel part of a vibrant community.

The student experience has been factored into the design throughout the process, ensuring the excellent provision of lifestyle-centred spaces. These include a reception area, games area, lounge, home working spaces, kitchen/dining spaces, a gym and yoga facility, plus an external courtyard terrace with a BBQ area. A mezzanine area is also provided for the secure storage of over 100 cycles.

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