London, UK

Imperial West Student Residential

The first phase of our master plan for Imperial West, a new campus for Imperial College London provides accommodation for 606 postgraduate students, together with 9 key worker flats

Project Details

  • Location London
  • Type New build
  • Area 20,626m² 222,000ft²
  • Sector Education, Residential
  • Client Imperial College London
  • Services Architecture

Collective Team

Aerial view of master plan

The post graduate accommodation is distributed over four wings at five to ten storeys in height, linked at ground floor level and stepping up from north to south, to act as a transition between the existing residential context and the larger scale envisaged within the core of the overall master plan.

Master plan showing three completed phases

The decision to organise the building form into four wings was taken at an early stage to create a footprint that controls the massing to a suitable scale for the adjoining street environment, opening up views between the wings and creating the desired frontage for the residences, and allow daylight to penetrate the northern side of the scheme.

This first phase of the project is of utmost importance in forming the transition between the existing urban context to the north of the master plan area and the future master plan proposal within the central and southern parts of the proposal Woodlands development.

It carries a significant responsibility in setting this first piece of the jigsaw puzzle

The four wings have been designed to allow natural ventilation, shading each other from low angle early morning and late day sun.

The areas of glazing have been controlled to allow maximum thermal performance to the external walls and a central Combined Heat and Power plant is used to create the potential to minimise CO2 emissions well below regulatory standards.

Materials and articulation have been deployed to control the visual impact of a relatively large building.

The key concept is that the buildings are seen as a single entity while responding to their context.

The brief requested the provision of circa 606 post graduate units, comprising a mixture of self contained single studios and accessible rooms supported by ground floor ancillary and administrative spaces and flexible common areas, to be accessed via a single controlled entrance.

Glazed link between blocks
Reception area overlooking courtyard
Courtyard between blocks
Main entrance


With 606 en-suites and kitchenettes to be provided, prefabrication as off-site ‘pods’ was the most ideal construction method for mass production to control quality and improve the speed of construction. There were three pod types in this development:  568 studio pods, 30 large superior pods, 7 smaller superior pods and 1 accessible pod.

The prefabricated bathroom and kitchenette pods allowed for faster construction programmes and significantly reduced requirements for skilled labour on site, providing valuable time and cost efficiencies over traditional construction methods.  The pods are lined with high quality and hard wearing gloss laminate walls and ceramic floor tiles for ease of cleaning and maintenance.

Nine key worker apartments, housed in three distinct high quality buildings of domestic scale and set well back from the existing pavement line, compliment the existing residential context.

Entrances have full height glazing and copper rainscreen cladding, together with high quality hard landscaping and communal gardens facing onto Shinfield Street.

The 3 storey buildings are split horizontally, and comprise open plan kitchen, dining and living, master bedroom with en-suite and two further double bedrooms with family bathroom.

Three storey key worker homes on Shinfield Street reflecting residential scale of surrounding area

Phase I achieved an 'Excellent' BREEAM rating and set an exemplar standard for future phases of the project, using high quality external materials including natural stone and copper cladding, while the three low rise key worker residential blocks onto Shinfield Street are Code for Sustainable Homes - Level 4.

Transition between the existing residential context and the larger scale of the overall master plan
Explore Imperial West Master Plan Imperial West Master Plan