Creation of self-contained apartments
23 single rooms and 14 duplex studios
Sensitive design to retain original appearance
Benefactor’s Hall was constructed using an anonymous American bequest as part of the 1966 university masterplan by architects Yorke, Rosenberg and Mardall. Relatively sophisticated for its period, it contained en-suite study bedrooms, one floor providing single occupancy but with a further level of two storey, twin occupancy rooms. The ground floor had a large common room, latterly used for office accommodation, and in the centre of the building were top-lit lounge and dining areas served by small internal kitchens. After 50 years it had, however, become worn and outdated, and following its feasibility study to explore options, Associated Architects was commissioned to refurbish the building. Independent consultant Hemingway Design has collaborated on the interior design.
The building was stripped to the shell of internal walls, comprehensively re-fitted and provided with new mechanical and electrical services. The shared, two storey rooms are converted to single occupancy, with kitchens provided on the mezzanines; the one floor of study bedrooms remains as en-suite, with new kitchens and lounges provided in the central top-lit space. In addition a number of self-contained apartments have been created in the upper floor corners, and through the conversion of the former ground floor common room. The accommodation is aimed both at post-graduate students and early stage university teachers, with a correspondingly high standard appropriate for mature residents.
The external envelope was originally clad in gazed white tiles; failure of the adhesive had resulted in the building being overclad in metal panels. Allied with the metal framed single glazing, thermal performance was poor. The building has been refinished with external insulation and white render, with high performance double glazing, sensitively designed to retain the building’s original appearance. Integrated brise soleil now prevents overheating in the south facing bedrooms. Energy consumption has been reduced significantly, renewable sources including a connection to the new university CHP system.