Rising Above it All: Construction Gathers Pace on Rio Designed Student Accommodation in Leeds
Property management company, YPP Lettings delivers further investment to Leeds with their most ambitious project to date, a student accommodation building of high-quality design which proudly builds on their story.
At a Glance
- Focus on high quality as a differentiator in the market
- Replacement of the existing Commerce House with a taller building, using the same footprint of the existing building
- Provision of high-quality external amenity space, including an external 8th-floor terrace and re-landscaped courtyard
- Amenity areas to provide communal space for study, lounge and exercise
- Active frontage
A New Eye-Catching Addition to the Leeds Skyline
YPP’s story is distinct. Their student lettings are much more than a room to rent, they are a community and our brief was equally defined, emphasising on a design that builds on the client’s reputation for high-quality studio-based student accommodation and the importance of communal facilities for residents.
Together with WSP | Indigo Planning, we were appointed in 2018 to develop proposals for YPP to review the potential of the site at Commerce House, Wade Lane, Leeds, for student accommodation.
Our fresh-thinking approach and desire to provide clients with memorable, responsible and cost-effective solutions led to the design of a building that supports the client’s objective to build high-quality studios and extensive and diverse luxury ancillary facilities.
This part of the city is undergoing significant transformation with Live Oasis St Albans Place suitably located to stitch together a number of developments and contribute towards creating an attractive and distinct part of the city centre.
Now under construction, the part 8 and part 19-storey building replaces a now demolished Commerce House and will comprise 210 studio apartments, communal facilities and a courtyard.
The form and elegance of the building are a prime opportunity to reflect the client’s quality brand. We gave detailed consideration to the modulation of the façade, where a well-mannered approach to the form of the façade, together with the choice of high-quality materials, contributes to a harmonious relationship between materials and form.
Sleek and Slender
From an early stage, we scrutinised the design from an architectural and commercial perspective, focussing on the mass and scale of the building and its relationship with surrounding buildings and public spaces.
We proposed various methods for creating a visual distinction between the bulk of the tower and the top.
By breaking down the mass of the building in transition with the skyline, we have given the building a distinctive identity within the cluster of surrounding tall buildings.
Through the layering of the façade and the coordination between the various elements such as the mesh screen, glazing and precast panels, we were able to create a contrast between the primary and subsidiary smaller block, accentuating the larger tower as the dominant hierarchical mass and the slenderness of its form.
The façade comprises six primary-facing materials to create a synergy between the panel patterns and the architectural language of the building. Metal façade materials emphasise the verticality of the building resulting in a timeless and elegant-looking treatment. Their natural colouration creates subtle variations across the façade and provides life and vibrancy in varying lighting conditions.
The perforated panels provide interest in the façade both during the day and at night when internal lighting will create a glowing filigree effect with the perforated mesh panels used across all elevations as a cohesive element tying the language of the scheme together. They also perform a practical and beneficial function of providing fresh air to openable windows while providing safety to occupants.
Doing Things Differently
A novel way of constructing, this project successfully adopted precast solutions, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the built environment and delivering incredible results.
By utilising high-rise modern methods of construction (MMC) in our design and using a precast modular frame, we ensured a sustainable approach to building, significantly reducing carbon footprint.
Precast construction consists of a prefabricated structural sandwich panel. Sandwich panels comprise an internal loadbearing inner leaf, a stonewool insulation layer and an outer precast cladding leaf. Windows and mesh screens are pre-installed, minimising installation time on site, facilitating quality control and minimising health & safety risks. The introduction of a structural sandwich panel system allowed for the removal of the in-situ concrete frame and columns at the upper levels.
A Lasting Student Community Experience
In addition to a large ground-floor communal entrance, lounge, study rooms, management suite and multimedia room with high ceilings, the building offers a gymnasium on the lower ground floor creating an active frontage to the courtyard, as well as a well-being lounge and a 1,450 sq ft communal roof terrace offering unparalleled views. In total, almost 7,000 sq ft has been designated as communal space for socialising and living. With Live Oasis St Albans Place, future residents will be able to live in an environment based on the community the client has built for its occupants.
We designed Live Oasis St Albans Place to suit client expectations, creating a pleasing and comfortable space to live, work and play.