- Project Name
- Victoria Hall, King's Cross
- Stanton Williams
- Project Types
- Student Housing
- Project Scope
- New Construction
- 97,187 sq. feet
- Year Completed
- Shared by
- Project Status
2017 Residential Architect Design Awards
Student Housing | Award
Victoria Hall is a 198-room student housing tower in the rapidly rebranding London district of King’s Cross, developed by a private development agency. Designed by local firm Stanton Williams, the structure consists of two 12-story wings connected by an eight-story volume, creating a sheltered courtyard atop the complex’s ground-floor plinth.
Inspired by the adobe architecture of the Middle East, the architects wanted to create a form that looked like it had been carved out of a sinlge block. The towers are clad in brick, and their offset pattern, with the recessed blocks in a lighter color, gives the overall impression of latticework. “It has a level of refinement,” Katherine Chia said. “I think the façade with the brick pattern is great.”
Inside, public areas are flooded with natural light coming in from large expanses of glazing; in the living units, light is filtered through actual brick latticework in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows. Two courtyard gardens provide outdoor public space and the inside public areas are lined with white walls and light wood floors and millwork, some of which creates patterned screens in front of the glazing to continue the façade texture inside. The level of detailing is such that David Baker gave the project perhaps the highest praise an architect can give: “I could live in this place.”
To be mindful of natural resources, the building was designed to achieve a certification of Excellent in the BREEAM rating system, and incorporates a rooftop photovoltaic array, water flow control devices, and a building management system that will allow all systems to be monitored and refined over time.
Visit ARCHITECT to see the rest of the winners of the 2017 Residential Architect Design Awards.
FROM THE ARCHITECTS:
The Victoria Hall student residential building provides 198 bedrooms for use by graduate students attending an independent research university in London, as well as students coming from around the world to study in the city. The scheme has been developed by a London based developer on behalf of a network of private, neo-denominational development agencies which operates programmes and institutions which span the educational ladder. Victoria Hall is located within the King’s Cross district which is currently being redeveloped through a range of major urban and transport projects. The client’s brief called for a building of outstanding architectural design that would deliver student accommodation of the highest quality, referencing the culture of the university community. The design aims to provide a stimulating and collegiate environment in its urban setting. The design draws reference from the solidity of the adobe architecture of the Middle East. The building has been conceived as a form carved from a single block, creating two 12-storey ‘bookend’ wings above a ground floor plinth, flanking a central south-facing eight storey element set back from the street. The building's volume has been designed to respond to the wider masterplan and reinforce the adjacent public spaces and the wider context. The resulting form is expressed as a textured brick surface, with all recessed areas in lighter tones. In order to maintain the visual solidity of the form, light enters the building through both fixed windows and hit and miss brickwork, animating the interior living spaces with dappled light. This form and approach to building envelope also maximises access to natural daylight and ventilation throughout all areas. Central to the building’s character are the two courtyard gardens on the first and eighth floors that have been designed with reference to Islamic gardens found in the Andalusia region of the south of Spain, and the courtyard gardens of Morocco. Lush planting, water features and high quality stonework form the generous open communal spaces that allow residents opportunities for recreation and social interaction. The student experience was of paramount importance from the start of the project and regular stakeholder meetings were held at each stage including student bodies, staff, and key members of the client body, including the project steering committee. As a result, the design incorporates high quality, generous amenity space, shared social spaces and landscaped gardens for the residents and wider students to enjoy. The building is also adjacent to public space that has been proposed as part of the wider masterplan. Meetings with planning and the wider development team were regularly held to ensure that the building, whilst remaining primarily private, responded to the existing masterplan and future community. This ensures that when the wider plan is completed the building will engage well with the surrounding context and the students at Victoria Hall will be able to engage with the local community and enjoy the benefits of the King’s Cross development. Sustainability Victoria Hall is successful in addressing the boarder aspects of sustainability in many different ways. The building achieved a strong BREEAM 2011 NC ‘Excellent’ certification, and through the utilisation of this scheme was able to realise a number of sustainability goals. The building is connected to the T1 district energy centre at Kings Cross, one of three energy centres across the masterplan containing low-carbon and low NOx CHP engines. All electricity at T5 is derived from this energy centre, which results in a 41.4% reduction in CO2 emissions over the notional baseline. Additionally, approximately 88 m2 of PV panels have been installed on the roof of T5, further adding to the green vision that this building delivers. Victoria Hall is naturally ventilated, which greatly reduces the consumption of energy that is usually associated with cooling plant and distribution equipment, consequently resulting in reduced carbon emissions for the development. A BMS system has been installed to allow the operational team to monitor and assess energy and water consumption over the building’s life, allowing future modifications and potential energy savings to be realised. Flow control devices and water leak detection were installed, and these actions tie in with the goals of UK Government’s “Future Water” Strategy for England, and Victoria Hall arguably contributes towards wider national goals for sustainable water usage. The maximum allowable number of credits were achieved for the BREEAM Mat01 section, which shows that careful material specifications and selection for elements such as the external walls/facade, roof, floors and glazing resulted in the use of materials with very low quantities of associated carbon over their projected lifecycles. All timber for the project was form FSC/PEFC-certified sources, and a biodiverse roof was installed to help improve site ecology.