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R H Partnership Architects (Experience) Cambridge Part I Placement 2014-16 (19 Months)

By Joseph Chandler


Warwick Student Village

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The proposal was for a large scale masterplan to design 880 rooms for a new student village for Warwick University. I entered the project in its early stages focusing on an initial feasibility study.


The 880 room student village which we were in charge of was part of a larger masterplan for the university, which was situated in several green sites around the college grounds.

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A series of sketch schemes and diagrams were completed to outline the different considerations which the scheme incorporated such as existing buildings, orientation, defensible space, ownership, public routes, entrances and green space/ forecourts.


The project involved some site visits and design team meeting to document the existing features/ constraints of the site, and to develop the brief with the client. After the sketch layout for the different buildings blocks was established, I was in charge of producing a 1:500 site massing model to show the scale, topography and relationships between the numerous elements of the scheme.

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The project was my first introduction to using BIM within a professional setting. I was in charge of producing the revit model for each housing unit which allowed my to hone my skills. A series of quick visuals were completed to show the client at each design team meeting.


As the project advanced I was given the task to produce drawings and diagrams for the design and access statement for the project, which gave a me a good understanding of the specific requirements which were need for a scheme of this scale.

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Mount Pleasant Student Halls

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Mount Pleasant was a design for 400 new student rooms for Cambridge University. The proposal was to demolish an existing office block which was no longer fit for purpose to be replaced with a scheme which provided students with accommodation and a more permeable layout with green spaces in the form of internal courtyards.


The initial design team meetings involved developing a feasibility study to determine the number of potential rooms which could be allocated on site. The scheme also included sufficient cycle parking, amenities and studio spaces as well as parking and landscaping.

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A focal point, when developing the design, was the scale and the different approaches to the proposal, as it was situated on a prominent corner site at the top of castle hill. The new proposal also incorporated cues from the surrounding context from the historic courtyard arrangements and materials to be found around the different Cambridge colleges.


We produced a series of the views showcasing the numerous approaches to the site and how the scale of new development situated itself within local context. The materials palette consisted of a number of different brick types and patterns to create subtle variations within the different building blocks.

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Aspect showing the existing approach from castle hill. The existing 1970’s office building was a long L shaped block which hugged the perimeter of the site, creating a large defensive wall. The new scheme needed to incorporate a more permeable approach, allowing for natural light, green space and views into the site.


The proposed aspect of the new ‘corner block’ making a feature of the prominent location with a top lit 6 story tower.

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Queen Mary Engineering Building

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The transformation project was for a refurbishment of an old 1950’s engineering building for Queen Mary’s University London, situated on Mile End Road. The existing building was de-cluttered and upgraded to meet the universities aspirations of achieving a overall reduction of 40% in carbon emissions.


The proposal was to create a welcoming, open, bright, inspirational, functional and flexible environment. The refurbishment included new state-of-the-art teaching and research facilities in engineering and material sciences and electrical engineering and computer science.

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My role was to model and update the SketchUp model as the design developed. Incorporating the mass of mechanical and electrical equipment required for the highly specific functions of the scheme. I was also in charge of producing and issuing a series of drawings for the planning proposal.


The project was extremely valuable as it gave me a good insight into the ways in which the different consultant teams--specifically M&E in this case--collaborated on a scheme of such complexity and rigorous requirements.

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View of the central teaching courtyard with flashes of orange within the acoustic baffles and fenestration side panels.


The project was completed in April 2016, which we were invited to the opening of the building. The client was extremely pleased with the finished article which in turn secured our involvement in the second phase of the development to design a new creative engineering hub and robotics suite.

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Chestnut Grove Academy

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Chestnut Grove Academy was to design new facilities for a secondary school in Balham, South London. The school was part of the Education Funding Agencies Priority Schools Building Programme (PSBP), which specifically addressed those schools which were in the worst condition. The proposal was to design two new blocks whilst maintaining the existing school, to be demolished following completion of the new build.


The scheme was on an very tight budget and time scale, which posed challenges in developing the design quickly and efficiently in order to secure planning. The project was developed as a BIM level 2 scheme, which required all primary consultant teams be working and collaborating using revit.

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As well being involved in the initial conceptual design I was also given the chance to work with one of our architectural technicians in developing the detailed design for the scheme. This also required me to call up suppliers and sub contractors for material samples and specifications.


The project was highly beneficial to me as I saw the scheme through from inception to going on-site. I was also put in charge of co-ordinating the BIM model. Making sure all relevant consultant teams were updating and uploading their respective models to be crossed checked with our central model.

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R H Partnership Architects (Experience)  

Classification: Part 1 Placement 2014-16 (19 months) Location: Cambridge

R H Partnership Architects (Experience)  

Classification: Part 1 Placement 2014-16 (19 months) Location: Cambridge

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