Precast Wins at Hox Park

11th November, 2019

Located on the outskirts of Egham in Surrey, Hox Park is a new high-quality, precast concrete student development for The Royalton Group and Moorfield, which forms part of the phased masterplan for the former Brunel University site. Designed by Studio Partington, a total of 499 studio and ensuite bedrooms are housed within four new accommodation blocks, three to four storeys in height, orientated around a series of beautifully landscaped courtyards which are accessed through a new entrance square.

Crisp bronze powder coated aluminium cladding to the top storey of each block reduces the perceived height of the scheme, while subtle detailing around windows cast delicate shadows onto the brickwork, changing the proportions of the openings as the sunlight changes through the day.

From start to finish, Hox Park has taken two years to construct, and just a few months to assemble with thanks to the adoption of precast concrete offsite construction, completing ahead of the 2018/19 academic year. Studio Partington worked closely with the contractor, GRAHAM, to devise solutions that would increase the overall capacity of the scheme, and significantly reduce construction time and costs.

Precast construction allowed for accuracy and consistency, both of which are vital when constructing a repetitive programme within a restricted timeframe. Concrete walls and floors were meticulously detailed by GRAHAM to house all services within the structure and omitting the need for a ceiling void or a complicated floor build up and allowing for generous floor to ceiling heights throughout.

An ideal canvas for student living, precast concrete offers great acoustic barriers between rooms, is easily maintainable and provides durable interiors. Expanses of thermal mass and significant insulation to external walls maintains a naturally cool environment in the summer, and warmer in the winter, eschewing the need for additional heating which in turn reduces energy costs. Offering a quick and standardised solution to bathroom instalments, prefabricated bathroom pods were also installed throughout.

Single elements within the bathrooms can be easily replaced, while communal services for cluster and studio flats can be accessed via a door from the main corridor to reduce disruption to students when carrying out maintenance. Designed to make students feel at home, all rooms are bright and spacious and feature a comfortable double bed, generous storage space including a built in double wardrobe, a desk for study and an ensuite with walk in shower and WC.

200 studio rooms have fully functioning kitchenettes, equipped with a ceramic hob, combi oven and fridge/freezer and a breakfast bar, while 299 ensuite bedrooms are orientated in clusters of four to eight rooms around a communal kitchen, dining and living space.

Rob Joyce, GRAHAM's London office Director, said: "The redevelopment of Magna Carta Park is an exciting scheme and the work we have carried out alongside Studio Partington on behalf of Royalton Group has provided the grounds with a new lease of life and transformed the disused campus into a new academic hub."

With the help of GRAHAM, the team were able to shave a total of ten weeks off the construction process which enabled the project to be completed on budget and in time for the start of the 2018/19 academic year. The successful delivery of high-quality accommodation also helped to maximise letting potential - almost all of the rooms were reserved upon completion.

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