Chilver Hall, Cranfield UniversityEdit profile
New student accommodation for Cranfield University that transcends a tight budget and short construction period to provide a stimulating environment whose form, materials and contextual landscaping all seek to inspire.
Stanton Williams was invited to continue our established relationship with Cranfield University by providing new housing for one hundred and six students. Though shaped by a tight budget and nine-month construction period, our design offers a considered response in its forms, materials and landscaping.
The accommodation is split between a number of new buildings whose arrangement responds to a series of retained houses at the south of the site. They are arranged so bedrooms and corridors alike enjoy good views and ample daylight. Four-storey blocks define the site’s northern boundary; three-storey blocks are located between them at right angles, creating a series of courtyards whose landscaping responds to the presence of numerous fruit trees and some of them will be turned into orchards. The courtyards are a place for chance encounters, for work and for socialising, with their paths providing new pedestrian routes that link the site with the rest of the campus.
The existing buildings on the site prompted a strongly contextual approach, while the use of a cost-effective timber frame to speed construction further presupposed a certain directness. The new blocks are therefore clad in red cedar whose organic, soft texture contrasts with the brick of the houses and relates to the domestic nature of the landscape.
As with our previous work at Cranfield, this project demonstrates that value and speed can be reconciled with a sensitive approach to materials and detail that will inspire its users.