rpa:group raises the standards of student accommodation

It’s a busy and productive time for the rpa:group’s Architects, who are delivering a series of student accommodation projects for Prime Student Housing LLP. In a number of instances, disused office blocks are being given a new lease of life in the form of high-end and sensitively designed student flats and studio apartments, that offer all the elements needed to make student life a comfortable and fulfilling experience.

In central Leeds, an existing office building has been repurposed and the elevations entirely reclad. The ground floor will include a separate restaurant with access onto trendy and popular Greek Street. The lower ground of the building will be given over to student leisure facilities, including a cinema and gym. A new glazed extension will be added, creating an eighth floor. Floors one to eight will consist of superbly design studio and two bedroom apartments.

The Cardiff development also sees the transformation of an existing seven-storey office block with the addition of a further eighth floor and a five-storey extension to the rear. The ground floor incorporates a gym and cinema and an existing café and restaurant, which had to be kept open throughout the building works. Careful programming and phased handover, permitted new residents to move into the original building during December 2012, while work continued on the extension, which has just been completed.

The Exeter project is a new build project, replacing a row of redundant shops. As it is located on Sidwell Street, which is a conservation area, the design had to be sensitive to its surroundings. By applying our prime student housing formula, the rpa:group’s architects were able to achieve a more efficient use of the building, than initially designed. It will include student leisure spaces on a subterranean level, with a conveniently located Tesco on the ground floor.

The student accommodation project in Birmingham’s Selly Oak is also a new build, on the site of what was previously the parking lot of a used car dealership. It will incorporate four storeys of student accommodation, the metal framework components of which are being manufactured off-site before being assembled. The project is due for completion in summer 2014.

With students expecting a lot more of their accommodation these days than a kettle to boil for a pot noodle, rpa:group is at the forefront of enhancing their quality of life. Room sizes have been extended and careful deliberation is being given as to how each zone in the living space is being utilised.

Aside from ample living space, all the student accommodation buildings also include separate leisure spaces, an important element of student life. Spacious student lounges allow for relaxed and sociable gatherings, fully fitted gyms inspire an active and healthy lifestyle. In-house cinemas provide the perfect space to unwind in and private work rooms in which to focus and study in peace. Clearly the combination of all of this is working, since the number of students renewing their leases in accommodation already completed by rpa:group, is over 60%.

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