Keele University Halls Redevelopment

  • Location

    Newcastle-under-Lyme

  • Client

    Keele University

  • Value

    £100m approx

  • Completion

    Phase 1: underway

  • Size

    1700 bedrooms

  • BREEAM Rating

    Excellent

1,700 students beds situated in a Grade II Registered Parkland and Historic Garden

This £100m project has student experience at its core. Pastoral care is more important than ever and, with greater awareness of mental wellbeing, we have explored how our design could alleviate feelings of isolation amongst students.

Keele University wanted attractive but affordable accommodation. We responded with a contemporary model of shared facility accommodation laid out in cluster blocks and townhouses. The shared facility cluster creates an extremely efficient layout which is not only cheaper to build than the typical en-suite units joined by a corridor, but also promotes inclusion.

Instead of entering the cluster via an empty corridor, students will access their bedrooms through a generous communal living space. This creates social opportunities. They might bump into house mates cooking in the kitchen, or studying at shared desk spaces.

Halls are no longer seen as just a place for students to sleep and eat but as homes away from homes. The communal living spaces within the proposed clusters and townhouses are designed to provide a softened, homely feel rather than the sterile, practical space routinely offered within the sector.

The living spaces are generously sized so there is space for everyone. Students have flexibility; a place to eat, space for studying and room for relaxing. Furniture will divide this space to create private hubs – perfect for those who want to get down to some serious studying without being cut off in their bedroom.

There is also a small amount of premium accommodation included in the development, providing the university with much needed diversity in its offer to students and visiting academics alike. These take the form of high-spec studios and duplexes with a mezzanine bed deck.

Heading outside, students are surrounded by the beautiful woodlands and lakes which make up the Grade II Registered Parkland and Historic Gardens on which the campus is built. Building blocks and townhouses are grouped around courtyards of collective use to promote community interaction outdoors. These public spaces are linked to main pedestrian routes, so that social spaces are never far from a well-worn path.