Prefabricated student accommodation stacks up

TGL News

London based architects WilkinsonEyre has designed a striking student village for the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology, England.

Made up of a series of prefabricated “pods,” the design offers a simple, sustainably minded student accommodation option.

Each pod consists of a cross-laminated timber interior, wrapped in a layer of super insulation and clad in anodised aluminium.

The full height, triple glazed facade of each pod has been strategically angled to give a sense of space and privacy. Each takes advantage of views across the campus, while also creating a series of collective social spaces outside and inside within their nooks and crannies.

The landscape setting of these accommodation pods provides ample green space for students to interact with, linking to the nearby Dyson Woodland Walk.

“In keeping with the stead-fast increase in creating healthy and sustainable buildings, the project places the wellbeing of Dyson students at its heart,” says WilkinsonEyre.

“Each pod has been designed with natural ventilation while benefitting from the excellent thermal mass performance of the CLT structure.”

Professor Tuan Ngo of the University of Melbourne says this style of construction is the future.

“The new generation of prefabricated buildings have lighter and stronger structural components,” Professor Ngo said in a University of Melbourne publication.

“Prefabrication also offers opportunities to have high performing thermal and acoustic walls, floors and ceilings by combining durable and sustainable materials into systems such as sandwich panels.”

Prefabrication tends to also be more environmentally sustainable than traditional onsite building. This is because it requires more upfront planning that leads to less waste generation, less need for re-working and lighter use of materials.

An Australian example of prefabricated student accommodation is architectus’ design of 153 quality self contained living units for the Australian National University. This construction won the ACT Sustainable Building Award upon completion in 2010.

It consists of a mixture of studios and one bedroom dwellings, including accessible units, made using durable, low maintenance materials.