St Joseph Student Accommodation
Completed in September 2017, the Vita St. Joseph Student Accommodation project in York was carefully designed by Leeds based architects Fuse Studios, for client Select Property Group. Taking its name from the site on which it is located, the former Grade II listed St. Joseph Convent provides a new ‘student village’ consisting of 644 bedrooms, across 15 new and 3 listed buildings; Select Property Group’s largest completed student development to date.
The brief given to Fuse Studios called for a sustainable new student village, that would complement the existing neighbourhood and could house students coming from across the country in one managed and secure location. The project consisted of a sensitive re-development of the former convent site and full re-use of the existing listed buildings; a design and build contract that was subsequently awarded to Main Contractor Wates Construction.
Since its completion, the Vita Student project won Best Large Residential Development at the 2018 York Design Awards and has been shortlisted for a number of architectural accolades including the RICS Awards, RIBA Awards and Construction News Awards in 2018.
Originally built in 1870, the site was expanded and buildings constructed across a number of years, including a Chapel, a private residence for the Priest and an infirmary wing.
The site is located within sight of York City Walls, an easy walking distance to the city centre shops and amenities and central to a number of the city’s higher education institutions – a perfect location for students.
The site boasts a mature existing landscape, something which the client wanted to retain as much as possible. Using the existing natural features, the development was split into “zones”. Each zone was intended to be its own smaller community within the overall village, with its own distinct character.
In order to help subtly define the individual areas, whilst ensuring overall cohesion across the development, the selection of the external facade materials was very important.
A number of complimentary materials were used for the different buildings across the development. The majority of the new buildings were constructed with facing brick work, supplied by Taylor Maxwell. A couple of different traditional red bricks were selected to harmonise with the existing buildings and reflect the historic nature of the site. To add distinctive details to each building, patterns were created in the brickwork using projecting headers.
Alongside the traditional brickwork, some areas were clad in pressure treated Scandinavian Redwood cladding. The treatment helps retain the natural timber colouring, which provides a clean backdrop for the vast landscapes. To pull the whole colour palette together, golden, powder coated aluminium panels with perforated leaf designs clad the staircase areas across the buildings, allowing natural light to flood in through the stairways, whilst the design pays homage to the natural, sustainable nature of the whole project.