Hodder + Partners won a limited competition for a student residential scheme for the St. Clement’s Street car park site in December 2011. After the refusal of an earlier scheme for the site by the previously appointed architects, Hodder + Partners have worked closely with the City Council and developers, Watkin Jones, to develop a scheme that addresses all of the previous concerns.
The tightly constrained site presents numerous challenges and a rigorous contextual response was required to ensure the proposed building responds appropriately to the rich and varied context. The primary generators are the re definition of Penson’s Gardens as a pedestrianised street; the creation of an appropriate scale relationship to the river and the back of the buildings on St. Clement’s Street; an organised approach to the replacement car parking, surmounted by the new development; the creation of an appropriate context for the monumental rear façade of Jim Stirling’s Grade II Listed Florey Building and the transition from the rural context of the Angel and Greyhound Meadows, the monolithic collegiate form of the Florey Building, and the finer urban grain of St. Clement’s.
A key aspect of the brief was the replacement of the existing public car parking. Therefore, strategically our proposals commenced with a rigorous car park layout of 80 spaces which prescribes the perimeter of the site in a horseshoe arrangement. The accommodation comprises 140 studio bedrooms which are overlaid in four pavilions, the structure of which is derived from the car park layout below. The pavilions are articulated by the new Penson’s Gardens, which creates a link from St. Clement’s to the river and are connected by two highly glazed entrance galleries, visually anchored on the monumental entrance portico of the Florey Building. A delicate footbridge connects the galleries across Pensons Gardens at second floor level.
The project is currently on site with a completion date set for July 2014.