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WilkinsonEyre's modular student village

Dyson’s Institute of Engineering and Technology welcomes WilkinsonEyre modular student village

London-based architectural practice, WilkinsonEyre, has created an undergraduate village for the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology. The landscaped village of timber modular-housing pods, with communal amenities and a central social and learning hub, is based within the Dyson, Malmesbury campus in Wiltshire. As well as establishing a new style of student accommodation, the project breaks ground in design, master planning and precision engineering of truly modular prefabricated building technologies for rapid construction.

Designed by WilkinsonEyre, the village can accommodate up to 50 students with visiting staff. The high-quality and energy efficient living pods are prefabricated from cross-laminated timber (CLT), Accoya and other materials for rapid on-site assembly. Arranged in units and rising two to three-stories to create a welcoming social space to the campus alongside the larger industrial buildings.

The pods are arranged in a variety of cluster configurations, within a crescent-shaped site, following the curve of the surrounding landscaped embankment. Each cluster consists of up to six units, including a shared kitchen and laundry space at mid entry level, and an entry area with reception and storage. To create the feel of a student village, each pod has its own front door, with lower pods opening onto landscaped garden, and higher ones accessed by paths on curved earth ramps and stairs to the upper level.

This less regimented feel of a ‘village’, compared to the rest of the campus, is further increased by landscaping, including banks of wildflowers and grassed common areas. The unique design of the pods allows every student to face the greenery on campus through large triple glazed windows, encased by Accoya wood window frames. Accoya was chosen for the frames because of its dimensional stability, durability, sustainability and machinability. To offset the metal outer casing and exposed timber inside walls of every pod, the window frames have been painted dark grey.

The pods were factory fabricated in Scotland where bathroom units, fitted furniture and electrics were installed. Aesthetically, the timber has been left exposed throughout the pod’s internal spaces to create warm and natural living environments. Measuring 8 x 4 x 3m and designed to be transported on flatbed trucks, they arrived for finishing by Dyson’s Wiltshire facility at the Hullavington airfield, where the aluminium rain screen cladding and sedum-covered roofs were added, which form part of a water attenuation system that takes run-off into a rill. Then each pod was craned into position on site.

James Dyson thinks the company benefits from students’ fresh thinking, “Doing things the wrong way contributes to innovation – even seemingly naïve or silly suggestions can too”. Dyson’s Institute of Engineering and Technology welcomes WilkinsonEyre’s prefabricated modular student village.

 

Location: Malmesbury, Wiltshire

Architect: WilkinsonEyre