Bankside Student Living. Guildford
New student residences on Guildford’s riverside.

Client. Sladen Estates & Peveril Securities
Value. £20 million
Service. Concept Architect
Size. 350+ Dwellings
Status. Completed 2021

Michael Blann

In 2018 we were appointed to prepare a Planning Application for 350+ student residential units on this sensitive riverside site immediately to the north of Guildford Town Centre. The former offices/car showroom site is on Walnut Tree Close, on the town edge on the principal southern approach to Guildford.

The scheme is on the opposite riverbank to the National Trust owned Listed Buildings known as Dapdune Wharf, and was subject to intense scrutiny in design terms both with Local Authority and through the South East Regional Design Review Panel.

Our proposal creates a distinctive new ‘edge of town education community’ with a four large pavilion structures linked with landscape interventions forming a strong urban edge to the town and road while creating openings and set backs to the more ‘rural’ River Wey aspect to the east. The buildings are conceived to be indigenous in materiality and in reference to former large warehouse and former working buildings typical in the town centre elsewhere on the River Wey navigation. The composition successfully creates a balance between the ‘town and the park’ in creating public and private spaces and active uses on both frontages with public paths to the west and communal gardens and planted terraces with landscaping to further promote the use of the riverside path on the east.

Alongside the extensive landscaped gardens the scheme delivers large common areas and student facilities including student lounge, gym and cinema. The buildings contain a small number of individual studios, but the majority of the accommodation is provided in the form of cluster units to encourage and maintain social interaction.

The scheme achieved Planning Permission in December 2019 and was completed in 2022.