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University of Surrey - Manor Park Campus, Guilford

By chris

The student residences are part of the new Manor Park Campus at the University of Surrey. The crescent shaped site is lined by trees along its back edge and looks out across a road to the site for future academic buildings and lakes.The residences, designed by MJP Architects after being awarded the contract following a design competition, meet and exceed the university’s requirement for high quality accommodation. Arranged around interlinked courtyards, some enclosed, some open on one side, the buildings present a series of gables to the road, rather like a series of converted barns which sit comfortably in the semi-rural landscape. In this way, the design responds to the University’s masterplan aim of creating a transition between the rural and urban landscape. A varied skyline is formed by the alternating gables and lower linking blocks. Courtyard planning optimises the development potential of the site while creating an attractive living environment of courts which encourage community interaction. It is also efficient in maximising the number of student flats accessible from each nodal stair/ lift core, typically three or four.

The courts are semi-private, accessible by residents and their visitors. The stair/ lift cores to groups of student flats are entered at the corners of the courts via small glazed meeting/ social spaces. The buildings have been designed to maximise passive environmental control, with a well-insulated envelope and high thermal mass in the brickwork and concrete structure. CHP plant was also used throughout to minimise carbon emissions. When it comes to the building materials, a limited palette of strong durable materials was chosen for the development, creating a robust and unfussy architecture appropriate to this setting, which would weather well and minimise maintenance.

Ibstock’s West Hoathly Medium Multi Facing Stock Brick, with deep window reveals, aluminium window frames and steeply pitched slate roofs, were specified to create standout. The West Hoathly bricks were selected because of their ability to add character to today’s buildings. Synonymous with traditional stock bricks, West Hoathly bricks have a reputation for creating seamless blending, a huge appeal for both new-build and long-term phased developments like the University of Surrey.

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