The proposals involve the creation of 93 ensuite bedrooms within the existing buildings arranged in a variety of sized cluster flats plus a number of independent studio flats. Additionally residents will be able to make use of common facilities including a gym, cinema room and communal lounge with dedicated group-study areas.
Alongside the refurbishment of the original buildings, a new block is proposed that will provide a further 56 ensuite bedrooms, helping to create a vibrant community and ensure the initial commercial and long term social viability of the scheme.
The existing building was originally built as the Royal Albert Orphan Asylum and is presently home to the YMCA, who after nearly 50 years plan to move to new premises which will be better suited to their current needs, facilitated by the sale of this site. The existing building was built in a series of phases around a number of courtyards. The new building continues this pattern, forming a new courtyard. The courtyards help to contain amenity and social space for residents.
The design approach was developed through extensive consultation with the Council’s Conservation Officer. The new building draws from the existing to inform its pallette of materials and detail elements, in order to create a harmonious relationship and avoid stark contrast while at the same time avoiding direct replication or pastiche.