Job Centre Plus, 60 Commercial Road
A 21-storey building with retail, commercial and community use at ground floor level, and student accomodation on higher levels. Designed by Buckley Gray Yeoman.
26 October 2009
Planning reference: PA/O9/01198
We also reviewed this scheme on 10 August 2010.
We applaud the high design aspirations for this proposal for student accommodation. We commend the internal organisation at ground level including the active frontage provided along Commercial Road and the communal area to the rear of the building that would animate the linear park to the south. We also welcome the provision of communal spaces at high level which could become popular gathering spaces for students.
In our view, the building massing is also skilfully handled, as the vertical division of the façade has the potential to create an elegant building proportion. This strategy combined with a façade approach that emphasises the grid of the primary structure could also be successful in reducing the appearance of the building’s overall mass.
We welcome the proposed elevational treatment and think that the façades could be successful if carefully designed. Ultimately, the success of the scheme will be dependent on the quality of materials and detailing which needs to be maintained through the planning process to construction. We urge the local authority to condition these as appropriate, particularly bearing in mind weathering, age and long term maintenance.
Given the challenging cost constraints traditionally associated with delivering student housing, we applaud the client’s commitment to achieving a high quality building and we wish the project well.