It was key for the University that the new residences accommodated students with a variety of needs and aspirations, from different cultures and backgrounds. Aside from ensuring that the design complemented students’ wellbeing through maximising daylight, passive ventilation and accessibility, the design also explored a number of flat, room and furniture types.
To ensure that the final products and solutions met the University’s requirements, the project involved the construction of fully fitted and finished sample rooms which could be reviewed and tested by end users and the maintenance teams.
Topography was a major challenge for both design and construction. The Treforest campus is located on the west face side of the Cynon Valley and the development site is situated on the most steeply sloping part of the campus. Each block was therefore orientated and staggered to minimise cut and fill and also allow Part M compliant access. Natural voids created between the buildings and the sloping ground were utilised for drainage, services and water attenuation.
The topography was taken advantage of by creating an external amphitheatre adjacent to the central communal hub for the purposes of recreation, education and social activities. This feature has proved highly popular with students whilst providing focus to an otherwise difficult landscape.
A characteristic of the building design is the use of Parklex for the external envelope. This striated natural timber product creates a distinctive aesthetic and is a fitting material for its woodland setting.