Olympic Way Student Accommodation
Completed in August of this year, the Student Accommodation company ‘Unite Students’ opened a new build within the regenerated area of Wembley, home to the world famous football stadium and newly built retail outlet centre.
The student accommodation fronts directly onto the famous promenade of Olympic Way (previously Wembley Way) and has quick links to the local Universities with central London less than 20 minutes away. It’s a five minute walk from the new London Designer Outlet, and a short walk from London’s premier roller-skate venue, Wembley Arena and Fountain studios. The surrounding area features a number of shops, restaurants and bars as well as numerous leisure facilities and markets.
Also a five minute walk from the building is the Wembley Park tube station and Wembley Stadium train station.
The 699-bedroom, 19 storey facility, will have retail space on the ground floor. The rooms themselves will have en-suites and there will be flats of up to ten bedrooms sharing one communal kitchen fully fitted with fridges, freezers, ovens and microwaves. There are 72 studio rooms that will include kitchenettes and bathrooms. Each room is fully furnished with a bed, desk and chair, and comes with Wi-Fi.
“The interior has been designed in accordance with Unite’s standard specification and Home for Success branding,” commented Antony Arnold, Construction director for Unite. For the student accommodation, there was an emphasis on communal space with the entire second floor built as a common room with a games area and TV rooms. On the second and seventeenth floors are external roof terraces and the building has quiet study areas throughout, with a laundry room and bike storage facilities.
With input from Tier Structural Engineering and HCD Architects, the building comprises a traditional concrete frame with piled foundations, with a mix of curtain walling and vitrabond aluminium cladding. The entrance area was built at double height to provide space and airflow in the design. There is also a high proportion of natural light that runs throughout the building to enhance student experience and wellbeing. The entire building and the main entrance are also surrounded by a clad ‘goalpost’ structure, befitting of the location next to the national stadium.
Aided by Applied Energy, M&E consultants, the build achieved Breeam Excellent, which is in line with Unite’s environmental strategy. The development included both hard and soft landscaping to the front and rear of the building, which included anti-terrorism measures given the proximity to the stadium.
One of the biggest challenges that the project faced was the major redevelopment of Wembley as a whole that was undergoing at the same time. “Having a number of new schemes online at one time meant that there were risks over the capacity of the existing services, giving rise to localised infrastructure upgrades,” commented Antony. “We also encountered a number of existing services within the ground which had to be moved, and planning requirements were particularly acute given the site’s prominent location.”
The proximity to the stadium meant that site logistics had to be carefully managed during match days and with the ongoing development on the adjacent site.
The importance of the project was not lost on Antony. “This scheme is part of an ongoing district-wide regeneration, which means that the entire area has received a huge makeover in recent years. Even during the timescale of this development, the change has been huge, and no doubt 699 students will add to this new found vibrancy, and provide a positive social and economic impact on the local community.”
“It is a striking, eye catching building right next to the national stadium, so in terms of exposure and pride it ranks highly amongst those I’ve been involved in. The fact that so many issues have been overcome during the construction process makes it even more satisfying, and credit to the contractor RG Group and the entire professional team for working so collaboratively to make it happen.”