HLM’s finely crafted design solution for the new student residences at St. Andrews University (Powell & Whitehorn Hall) creates a striking addition to the unique landscape setting on Scotland’s east coast, the graceful proportions and fine detailing sitting comfortably alongside mature tree specimens. The solution looked to achieve an elegant visual outcome, its form, and layout contributing positively to the sense of community within the campus and bringing shared academic spaces into the heart of the village.
In a careful response to the unique character of St. Andrews and its immediate campus context, our design creates a series of collegiate style quads which are highly considered and sensitive to the existing listed buildings of the old wing; subtly evolving the qualities and features of the high quality Scottish baronial buildings and roofscapes, reinforcing and harmonising their character to develop a great sense of place.
The new buildings are designed to have a wide array of common spaces to foster communication between different student demographics and intellectual disciplines; as well as between students and their facilities and tutors.
The central concepts of community, connection and adaptability creates choices of setting to the learning environment, fostering both trust and responsibility in the student/tutor relationship – but also a learning environment in which the student is comfortable and receptive to learning.
Double height spaces in each hall create a sense of arrival, with vibrant and active spaces on ground floor, and quieter focussed study areas above. Linking directly to the main vertical circulation, students are drawn through these spaces encouraging interaction and engagement helping to foster a sense of community within each hall.
Powell Hall takes its cue from the courtyard blocks of the adjacent hall, creating a new central quad at its heart. Light buff masonry and light polished concrete enhance visual amenity, whilst prominent social, study and common spaces alongside zinc detailing help animate the façade. Angled window pods offer views northwards; a nod to James Stirling’s A listed Melville Hall to the west.
Whitehorn Hall, set out to reinforce the very specific character and feel of the existing B listed hall. In response, the design creates a series of collegiate style quads, sympathetic to the scale and massing of Old Wing picking on the richness of the Conservation area’s Baronial and Gothic roofscape. Each block adopts a contemporary zinc pitched roof reflecting and adding to the varied roofscape. Grey brickwork and polished concrete are sympathetic to the tone of the adjacent buildings whilst projecting concrete bays give prominence to common living spaces, animating facades and creating activity on courtyard elevations.
"From the bottom of my heart, I would like to sincerely thank the whole team involved in designing and making Powell Hall happen. I sincerely enjoy living here and I got excited again about it when I came back from my Christmas break. I can assure you that students enjoy living in Powell Hall and that your team has done a fantastic job."
Current Post-Graduate Student at University St Andrews