Unite Students is the UK’ leading provider of Purpose Built Student Accommodation. The project in the Arena Quarter at Leeds provides 976 student bedrooms in a mix of cluster flats and studios in two towers of 17 and 27 storeys. The development is considered an integral part of the regeneration of the Arena Quarter and contributes the emerging cluster of tall buildings in the area.
The realisation of the two tower scheme in a sensitive part of Leeds immediately adjacent to the City’s Arena venue involved lengthy and detailed dialogue with the Planning Authority and the Civic Society. Numerous design studies were undertaken to explain and justify the height and massing being proposed for the site where scale was gradually increased from the Yorkshire Bank building from the West to the recently approved Hume House scheme to the East at 37 storeys. Sensitive sight lines were also explored to protect views from key pedestrian routes with particular emphasis of revealing views to the Arena.
The resultant design of a 17 and 27 storey building including a Wetherspoons pub at ground level above a podium Car park involves contemporary reinterpretation of classical principles of well-proportioned blocks articulated to provide light and shadow relief to the façade. The design consideration of the elevation treatment involved the rigour of providing the Local Authority with scaled 3d printed aspects of the façade together with a full scale mock-up for a full storey height of the tower for consideration and approval.
The construction involving an in-situ concrete frame and an aluminium rain screen façade with a 2 year construction programme.