The Willowbank project is a stunning mix of conversion and new build offering 178 student beds to higher education students of Glasgow. Located within the Woodlands Conservation Area in the city’s West End, CCG carefully restored the former Willowbank Primary School as well as constructing three new blocks of apartments in an area that is immediately adjacent to the multi-award winning Ballet School that was completed by CCG in 2014.
The apartments on offer to students have been provided in a mixture of single and double rooms as well as 3 and 5-bed cluster studios. Single studios have been carefully developed to provide a spacious and modern self-contained unit with ensuite shower room, study desk, ample storage, lounge seating and kitchen with breakfast bar seating. The cluster studios offer the same high-quality ensuite rooms with a shared kitchen and communal space
5% of the sleeping accommodation is accessible to wheelchair users.
The Grade C Listed school building was constructed in 1900 and after its closure in 2010, fell into dilapidation with extensive repairs required internally as well as externally. The restoration works performed by CCG have ensured that the character of the building has been retained. A central atrium space provides a dramatic and dynamic hub for the congregation of students, with the upper balconies providing access to spacious accommodation located within the former classrooms. The ground floor accommodates some of the communal facilities bringing life to this central hub space.
To the exterior, the existing stone has been cleaned and restored by using traditional methods with a contemporary and sympathetic style adopted to any new areas of intervention. The replacement roof is a simple extrusion of the existing plan form using zinc cladding to rise above the existing walls. A dual pitch roof light has been fitted over the atrium, flooding the space below with much needed natural light from third to ground floor.
The new build blocks take on a contemporary design. Block A acts as infill to the existing tenements that line the western perimeter of the site on West Prince’s Street. The street elevation, in a buff sandstone finish, ties in with the existing street rhythm and building lines. Block C is adjacent to the school building and has been designed to respect the existing school but simultaneously offer a dynamic contemporary contrast whilst Block D creates a dynamic entrance at the side of the existing school, forming an internal street linking to the rear courtyard.
Each of the new build blocks of apartments was constructed using an off-site manufactured steel frame system. The use of this system was crucial to the success of the construction programme given the site size (0.35 ha), the proximity of the existing buildings and the limited site access arrangements ultimately reducing the impact of works on the surrounding community.
Empiric Student Property
Scottish Home Awards 2017 Restoration of the Year