DSSR has been working on a number of projects with the Royal Holloway University of London since 2003 to upgrade the university's existing building stock. The Gowar & Wedderburn Halls scheme provides 570 student bedrooms on a site surrounded entirely by mature woodland. The design is intended to impact on the environment as delicately as possible to preserve the ecology of the site. The walls are clad in cedar shingles and the wave-like form of the green roof is the only visible part of the building from the surrounding area, partially hidden by large deciduous trees.
As lead services engineers on the project, DSSR undertook a series of environmental energy studies that looked at using wind turbines, solar hot water systems, rainwater harvesting and grey water recycling. Complex thermal modelling simulations were also carried out to determine temperature distribution and air movement within the new building.
Site constraints meant that construction work had to be undertaken on a busy university campus that remained in operation throughout – constraints that were successfully resolved with the use of off-site fabrication. Despite the apparent complexity of the design, the clever use of identical blocks of accommodation helped to maximise the prefabrication and standardisation of components.
Royal Holloway University of London