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University of Essex

Essex, Colchester

This is the second development phase of our Hythe Quays masterplan, it includes the new pedestrian bridge over the adjacent east coast main line, connecting the accommodation to the university campus, as well as serving the proposed new rail-halt.

The scheme comprises five compositional elements, combining to create a balance between public accessibility and a protected environment. Each building / element respond to its immediate context and function in the plan, with their respective materials relating to their form and function, with some historical references also been taken into consideration. Linier buildings form the boundary with the public domain and contain a new street that extends through the scheme, linking the river front with the University campus. They are constructed in a typical Essex brick, chosen for its local compatibility, residential connotations, and robustness. The large courtyard building’s ‘flowing’ form provide a degree of privacy in the scheme and also responds to the character of the marshland it overlooks an, it also forms stop to the scheme and development on this side of the river. A render finish was chosen to the building for it symbiotic ‘plastic’ nature. Building ‘fingers’ projecting toward the river front are clad in timber boarding, a historical reference to timber water front buildings. The end facades are almost fully glazed in response the river turning basin they overlook.

The scheme was first place in the joint RIBA and Colchester Borough Council 2020 Civic Design Awards.


size: 770 student study bedrooms, support facilities

value: £24m

status: completed 2003

client: University of Essex / GHP Group

part of: Hythe Quays Masterplan

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