Powell Hall and Whitehorn Hall at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, Ysgol Pen Rhos primary school in Wales and the Service Support Centre for the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS), Belfast, have been shortlisted for the RICS Social Impact Awards.

Judged and voted on by an expert panel of RICS members and industry experts, the projects have been selected for the significant value they have brought to the communities around them.

HLM’s finely crafted design solution for Powell & Whitehorn Hall, contributes positively to the sense of community within the campus and brings shared academic spaces into the heart of St. Andrews university student village. Incorporating a range of interactive and shared spaces and generous atriums has provided a sense of arrival into a thriving community. Circulation routes have been designed to purposefully cut through these social spaces to encourage the opportunity for interaction. The halls are also open to the wider student community with shared facilities, adding to community cohesion at a University level.

Director and Head of Design, Philip Watson, said, “We worked closely with the client to deliver a student experience that considered health, wellbeing, quality of life and affordability, to provide a non-institutional design that promotes socialising through shared living and study areas. An independent, post occupancy social return on investment study has shown us that over 85% of students rate the bedrooms, social spaces and shared learning spaces as good, very good or excellent. To be recognised for this project’s positive impact by such a prestigious award is incredibly rewarding.”

Ysgol Pen Rhos primary school delivers a new, modern 21st century learning facility that has regenerated a derelict, once heavily industrial, highly contaminated brownfield site, prone to vandalism and anti-social behaviour. The design of the new school enables improved, inclusive educational delivery through flexible design adaptable to changes in the curriculum.

Studio Director, Gareth Woodfin, said, “Ysgol Pen Rhos has been a catalyst for regeneration and has become a real driver for economic benefit and change in the local area. It is now a thriving learning environment that can be shared with the community, improving wellbeing and inspiring the next generation of learners in one of Wales’s most socially and economically deprived areas”

Shortlisted for two categories, Commercial and Infrastructure, the new state-of-the-art NIFRS Service Support Centre has been designed to modernised and change existing functions to meet the changing nature of a modern fire service. It houses key logistical services including transport workshops, technical communication workshops, stores facilities and a standby Regional Control Centre hub.

The Social Impact Award 2020 regional winners will be announced in the next few months. A UK grand final will be held later in September for those successfully nominated from each region.