Eastside Locks Housing

What we delivered

A new living experience for 220 students in the heart of Birmingham where they can feel involved in the wider city, and take responsibility for the new canal-side environment.

What was the initial brief?

To regenerate a derelict site in the centre of Birmingham alongside the Digbeth Branch Canal by creating an integrated well-design student scheme that raises the standards and quality of the accommodation on offer to students living in the city.

How we did it?

The project was one of a number within the renewal and redevelopment of the Eastside Locks with the aim of creating a gateway to the city overlooking the planned HS2 station.

Working alongside the developers, City Student Living, we looked carefully at arranging the building so that the students would be at the heart of the regeneration. It would place them in an environment where they feel involved and responsible to the wider city.

This would then create an active sustainable canal-side environment, as well as offer increased use of the area and visual security to the students.

The proposals were developed through a series of investigations and evolved inline with the masterplan for the site, the Eastside masterplan and the BIG City plan.

The topography of the site allowed us to create a series of communal spaces with varying levels of privacy to ensure active engagement.

The plan included accommodation for 220 students, with rooms arranged in clusters to provide views of the newly developed City Park and city centre skyline.

Design concepts were developed to ensure access into the canal network and development of active frontages that respond to the public realm and the canal towpath.

The building was organised around three blocks, which flows from one central core.

The design also included communal leisure and study areas, shared kitchen, dining area and lounges, as well as a single central reception to provide secure access to the building.

This meant students can live in small groups of two or three people up to groups of seven friends all living in a cluster.

We looked closely at the layout of the room and the connection between internal and external environments to ensure a visual connection with the city by positioning full height windows directly opposite entrance doors helping the room to appear spacious.

What the client thought

“This has been a clever solution to maximise the site and deliver a livable urban experience, and a place that will enhance the learning experience.”

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