Bridle Works

An art-inspired home away from home for students living in the heart of Glasgow.


Bridle Works is a high-end student living development in Glasgow. The twenty-storey, 422-roomed purpose-built tower provides a safe and calming living environment, with a choice of studios and shared apartments, whilst also offering some of the most exciting and unique facilities on the market.

This complex interior design project showcases Stride Treglown’s market-leading skill at translating client briefs into contextually resonant and user-focused solutions.

The context and background

When student living developer CA Ventures looked to establish their UK portfolio under a new, high-end ‘Novel’ brand, they approached us on the strength of our extensive experience in the sector.

Recognising the emotional toll that starting university can take on undergraduates, the ‘Novel’ concept is founded on the idea of safety, security, and supporting physical and mental wellbeing. This focus is especially helpful to international students, including those from the Asia-Pacific region who make up an important segment of the market.

A complex brief

Designing the interior of this twenty-storey, 422-roomed purpose-built tower was no mean feat.

The whole of the ground and top floors were presented to us as empty volumes, with functions, zoning, finishes, furniture, fittings and equipment yet to be resolved.

Next, a vertical stack of identical amenity rooms on the intervening floors also needed to be allocated functions and appropriately designed and fitted out.

Finally, although the layout and function of the shared spaces within the cluster flats and the bedrooms had been worked out, their design finishes and specification had not.

Taking inspiration from Glasgow’s art and design heritage

Our first step in any new project is to immerse ourselves in the local context.

We visited Glasgow’s famous Willow Tearooms designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh with its distinctive style and pastel colours, and the world-class Kelvingrove art gallery, where it just so happened that the Burrell Collection was showing an exhibition of Chinese treasures coloured with reds and vivid blues.

At that point, the penny dropped: drawing on Mackintosh as the quintessence of Glasgow and the Burrell Collection as our link to international students’ cultural heart, we had an authentic concept upon which to build the entire scheme.

Delving into the building’s geometry

Our next move was to imagine ourselves in the building, delving into the geometry and feel of the spaces. Armed with pens, plans, reams of tracing paper, and an anything-goes attitude, we considered all possible uses for the spaces with no assigned functions to develop ideas, assemble adjacencies, and robustly test solutions.

Our solution: welcoming, soothing, warm

The resulting scheme hits all the right notes for safety and security. The driving inspirations – Mackintosh and Chinese treasures – influence the colour palette and echo in the trim but otherwise are subtly modulated for an original, unequivocally contemporary feel.

Spaces that enhance wellbeing and learning

The wellbeing objective is explicitly catered for in a relaxation room and a full-equipped gym, and implicit elsewhere in the convenience, comfort and delight afforded by all the other amenity spaces.

Highlights include a ‘grab-and-go’ breakfast bar in the reception area, a ‘glam’ room for the fun of getting ready to dress up and go out, a ‘dual gaming’ room, a roof terrace equipped with barbeques, and, to top it all, a double-height ‘tea lounge’, complete with sunken table and panoramic views of the city.

Since university life is about learning, we ensured that fun features were appropriately counterbalanced with a range of complementary study spaces for co-working, group work and private study.

All fitted with audiovisual equipment and fast broadband, these facilities give residents the option to escape the confines of their bedrooms without having to go into university to work.

A home away from home

Inside the cluster flats and bedsits, we applied our new branded style of neutral colours and natural finishes for a fresh, bright, clean look. Blending harmoniously and unobtrusively with the rest of the building, the result is a home away from home.

Having won the project in June 2019, we followed a relatively quick programme to deliver the Stage 4 package of information by May 2020. Following the government-enforced closure of the site due to the coronavirus pandemic, the project completed in December 2021.