WCEC Architects to lead on Liberty Living student living initiative
4 January 2017
Leading UK student accommodation provider Liberty Living has commissioned WCEC Architects’ consultant design and delivery team to critically review amenity and social space provision within its UK operational portfolio.
In addition, the team has been instructed to proceed with detailed designs and planning applications for pilot schemes in Newcastle, Southampton, Manchester and Liverpool.
As the sector professionalises and attracts greater investor interest, PBSA developers and operators are inspired to research and create amenity spaces that can evolve with students needs and deliver an ever-improving living experience. This project echoes that evolution and is focussed on creating amenity spaces that allow Liberty Living to continue to deliver the great service it has built its reputation on.
Liberty Living is an experienced and well respected provider, having built its business model around close partnerships with Higher Educational Institutions (HEI’s). Liberty Living’s in-depth understanding of the sector and long-standing University and HEI partnerships mean that they are constantly researching and listening to the needs of students and universities in seeking to deliver the very best living experience.
Nick Riley, Board Director at WCEC Architects, said: "We have been on a collaborative journey with Liberty Living for some time to understand where the marketplace is now, including facilities found on campus at universities, and in considering the future needs of residents also.
“This particular initiative presents several interesting challenges for us as every asset Liberty Living owns is very different, and with different residents’ needs.
“In some instances we are re-using and extending existing spaces, but often the appropriate space doesn't even exist. This is where we are designing new-build facilities which will become the new central focus of these large sites. Our intention is for these buildings to be modern pavilions, with lots of visibility and exceptional interiors, to make them a clear destination for residents to want to use,” Nick added.
John Kenny, Liberty Living’s Chief Operating Officer, commented: "As an established operator of one of the largest portfolios of purpose built student accommodation, we recognise the importance of evolving the provision of dedicated amenity spaces for our residents.
“The spaces we are creating will be multi-functional and allow our residents to enjoy an improved sense of community and social experience, with facilities such as; social lounges, different types of study spaces, media rooms, games areas, gymnasiums and private dining rooms.
“Our investors are fully committed to this work and it is important for us to demonstrate to our University and HEI partners and customers that we understand their needs and aspirations for modern student living,” he added.
Knowledge and experience combined with some in-depth research means that Liberty Living is able to understand what the next generation of amenities should look like.
“We’re passionate about enhancing the student experience. Some of the work that we are doing to create amenities is focused on the first generation of residences that we acquired from Universities or operators,” continued John.
“Whilst in many cases we’ve since re-modelled the interior to create brand new, fantastic looking accommodation and great Wi-Fi, we recognise that modern, multi-functional, amenity space will transform these assets further” added John.
The project will take 2-3 years to complete. At present approximately half of the portfolio is being assessed, with works on site for the first five projects likely to start in 2017.