- Architecture ServedProject Featured On:Architecture Served — 8/24/12
Thomond Student Village, University of Limerick
- Thomond Student Village
University of Limerick
Thomond Student Village comprises of a residential development of 15,503 m2, providing 503 student en-suite bedrooms grouped in clusters of 2, 4, 5, and 6 units sharing communal living areas. A three storey Managers house and reception/administration building is also provided.
On visiting the site in December 1999, the team were initially alarmed to see the site completely submerged under the river Shannon. After weeks of heavy rain the river broke its banks leaving only trees sticking up above water level.
To cope with the variation of river levels on the Thomond Student village site, the building foot print was raised by 2 metres above the existing ground level, creating promontories jutting perpendicular to the river. Preserving the existing ground levels between and lowering the man made embanks along the river bank which provided the opportunity to extend the existing wetland area deep into the hearth of the village. The lower ground between the fingers of accommodation retains its wetland environment and, increases its area and potential for new nesting grounds for riverside birds. Herons can be seen feeding on the new frog habitats created. Fingers of reeds and indigenous fauna are beginning to grow from the river edge between the accommodation blocks embracing the village within its environs.
The accommodation fingers radiate on a north/south axis. The buildings peel out in a southerly aspect with the village plaza at its heart (future village centre). The massing of the village varies between one to five storeys. The five storey accommodation block forms a backdrop, on the north eastern edge of the site, to the village with the lower blocks, on the western edge, providing opportunities for the large projecting balconies to take advantage of the sun path and panoramic views.
Entrances to the Student accommodation are defined by free-standing ‘Entrance Pods’ which also provide secure bicycle parking, waste disposal point, house electrical switch rooms and provides shelter to the entrance lobbies.
The buildings are clad in vertical western red cedar which will weather to a silver grey colour and will compliment the wild grass and flowers that will blossom around the buildings edges.
The landscaping is designed to reflect a natural river bank with a manicured edge running parallel around the buildings. ‘Bohereen’ like access roads weave around the site with a centre band of grass planted to reduce the impact of hard surfaces in the village landscape.