THE student accommodation provider Liberty Living has commissioned WCEC Architects’ consultant design and delivery team to carry out a review of social space within its UK portfolio.
The team from WCEC, which has an office in Leeds, has been instructed to proceed with detailed designs and planning applications for pilot schemes in Newcastle, Southampton, Manchester and Liverpool.
John Kenny, Liberty Living’s chief operating officer, said the group was looking to create spaces that allowed residents to enjoy a sense of community and a wide range of social experience. They would include facilities such as social lounges, and different types of study spaces, media rooms, games areas, gymnasiums and private dining rooms.
Nick Riley, a board director at WCEC Architects, said his company had been collaborating with Liberty Living to gain a greater understanding of the market place.
He added: “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.”
The project is expected to take two to three years to complete. Around half of the portfolio is being assessed, with works on site for the first five projects expected to start this year.
WCEC, which employs around 140 architects, is based in Chesterfield with regional hubs in London, and Leeds. Liberty Living manages around 19,800 beds in 48 properties across 19 UK cities.