Malmesbury, United Kingdom
WilkinsonEyre, together with landscape architects Grant Associates, have conceived a dynamic new undergraduate village for the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology.
The project was recently awarded with a 2020 International Architecture Award from The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and The Chicago Athenaeum.
WilkinsonEyre has been collaborating with Dyson on their Malmesbury campus for over 20 years, having originally designed the new Headquarters for Dyson there in 1992.
The landscaped village of timber modular housing pods, with communal amenities and a central social and learning hub, is based within the Dyson Malmesbury Campus in Wiltshire.
As well as establishing a new typology in student accommodation, the project breaks ground in the design, master planning and precision engineering of truly modular prefabricated building technologies for rapid construction.
Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology is a new model of learning that integrates a higher education campus into the context of commercial industry, research and development.
The village is where a new generation of engineering students will live while they work alongside the Dyson Global Engineering Team and study for an engineering degree.
The pioneering approach to materials and construction, and fresh thinking on student well-being echoes the ethos of innovation that runs throughout the campus.
The village is designed to accommodate up to 50 Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology students plus visiting Dyson staff.
The high-quality living pods are fabricated from cross-laminate timber (CLT) in a factory for rapid on-site assembly.
The pods are arranged in units, two to three-stories high, to create a welcoming social space and an appealing addition to the campus alongside the larger industrial buildings.
Certain clusters involve some pods cantilevered by up to three meters, pushing the structural properties of CLT.
The pods are also designed to harness CLT’s thermal massing and provide high-quality and energy-efficient living spaces.
In terms of aesthetics, the timber has been left exposed through the pods’ internal spaces, including the kitchens and bathrooms, to create warm and natural living environments throughout.
With well-being as a prime design consideration, each pod has been designed with natural ventilation and large, triple-glazed windows, individually angled to give each resident an expansive view across the campus.
The pods are clad externally with aluminum rain-screen panels, and depending on their position within each unit, given sedum-covered roofs.
The pods are arranged in a variety of cluster configurations, within a crescent-shaped site, following the curve of a surrounding landscaped embankment.
Each cluster consists of up to six units, including a shared kitchen and laundry space at mid-entry-level, and an entry area with reception and storage.
To create the feel of a student village, each pod has its own front door, with lower pods opening onto the landscaped garden, and higher ones accessed by paths on curved earth ramps and stairs to the upper level.
The dynamic variety of configurations lends an informal, residential character to the village. Green spaces and pathways determine user movement through the village and mediate connections between the residential accommodation and the communal clubhouse, named the Roundhouse, at the center.
Project: Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology
General Contractor: Roundhouse Beard Pods: CD
Project Manager: Turner and Townsend
Structural Engineers: Buro Happold
Landscape Architects: Grant Associates
Photography: Peter Landers