College Road

College Road takes co-living to new heights with a 50-storey tower of 817 co-living apartments named ‘Enclave: Croydon’ and a 35-storey tower of 120 affordable homes. 


College Road demonstrates the potential of volumetric construction to unlock disused land with sustainable dense buildings. The project locates nearly 1000 homes on a site of just 2000m2 in two adjoined towers. Drawing inspiration from its mid-century neighbour, Richard Seifert’s NLA building, located directly to the East, the façade has been designed for graphic impact from every viewpoint. Enclave: Croydon is innovative as the first co-living asset class to be approved by the GLA under the London Plan.

In future College Road’s colonnade will connect to the emerging cultural quarter. HTA collaborated with artist Adam Nathaniel Furman to wrap seven 19m high columns in slip-cast porcelain tiles in a graduated blue glaze creating an uplifting new landscaped route.


co-living colonade

How does College Road contribute to the renewal of the cultural quarter of Croydon

College Road contributes to Croydon’s civic life by implementing the next phase of its masterplan to revamp the cultural quarter. The masterplan is centred on the recently renovated Fairfield Halls, which will be connected to future public realm improvements, new homes, and a restored pedestrian footbridge that links pedestrian connections to the east through a new public route framed by a colonnade. Incorporating this public route into the site was a significant challenge as the total site area was limited to 2,000 sqm. Our solution was to cut back the lower three floors from the typical floor plate, which opened up the area and created a more spacious zone.

college road co-living
college road plan

What's the significance of the tiled columns used in the new pedestrian route

The new pedestrian route features public art at an impressive scale. The artwork includes 16 columns, each between 6 and 7 meters tall and around 900mm in diameter. The columns are adorned with sculpted British porcelain tiles, which artist Adam Nathaniel Furman designed. He previously collaborated with HTA on the public art sculpture for the adjacent Ten Degrees development’s winter garden. Adam worked closely with HTA’s team and the craftsmen at Craven Dunnill Jackfield to create two unique hand-crafted tile designs and a range of glazes that matched the building’s aesthetic.

The glazes range from a deep indigo blue at the base to white at the top, with a subtle gradient of over 30 tiles in height. Nearly 14,000 tiles were produced, working together with the factory in Shropshire, which has been firing ceramics for over 150 years. As part of this process, Adam Nathaniel Furman mentored art students from Croydon College, who gained insight into designing, gaining approval for, manufacturing, and installing public art. The colonnade at the north end of the building frames a public-facing café space yet to open, while to the south, it culminates in a series of community spaces at the base of the shoulder buildings. The southern elevation will eventually open to the new public realm, which connects a new pedestrian footbridge to the intended Fair Fields public realm.

college road co-living

How did the mid-century vision influence the design of the building

HTA, working in collaboration with Tide’s in-house design team, took inspiration for the building from the hopeful mid-century vision upon which much of Croydon was built. The South London town saw an influx of development in the 1950s and 1960s that included Richard Seifert’s renowned brutalist NLA building, which strongly influenced the bold articulation of College Road’s ceramic façade. Mid-century modernist-style repetition creates a striking new geometric landmark, with the building’s appearance evolving subtly with height thanks to a varying configuration of ceramic tiles at the base, middle, and top of the tower.

affordable homes and co-living
affordable homes

What was the inspiration behind the use of white glazed tiles

The building’s appearance references the nearby No. 1 Croydon by Richard Siefert through its alternating window clustering, faceted façade geometry and use of white glazed tiles as the main cladding. Another key influence was the adjacent Ten Degrees, designed by HTA for Tide Construction. While they share the same glazed terracotta cladding system, College Road has a white horizontal expression that deliberately contrasts Ten Degrees’s dark green vertical design.

affordable homes
affordable homes

Our growing experience using glazed terracotta, working with Century Facades and NBK terracotta, led to a bespoke range of tile extrusions and finishes that reinforce the folds and reveal the façade. Together, all these different influences are composed into a discrete base matching shared uses, a central zone that subtly varies the rhythm of openings with the height, and a crown that articulates the destination spaces from the top of the tower. The lower ‘shoulder’ is separated by a shadow gap and expressed by a variation to the façade rhythm.

How was College Road's distinctive look achieved

College Road’s “tripartite” composition features a complex and subtle design at the base and middle levels. The windows are grouped and clustered beyond individual floors or homes, and a prominent “crown” highlights the top of the building and its role in the skyline. At a more detailed level, the building’s design features recurring patterns throughout, from small facade tiles to the unique shape of the building, resulting in a cohesive and distinctive look.

What is the purpose of the horizontal cuts between the ribbons on the building's façade

College Road has different modules with varying complexity. The façade design reflects this by changing the clusters of windows across the building height. These windows create black ribbons that increase in width as they rise up the building and encircle the tower at the top. The horizontal cuts between the ribbons differentiate between the shoulders of the affordable homes and the taller co-living homes.

The variations in design make the tower look like a structured family of related forms, avoiding an overly repetitive grid. The horizontal window banding allows for flexibility in the internal layouts of the homes, maximizes views and daylight, and minimizes overheating through deep reveals and natural ventilation.

Landscape Design

How will the colonnade route contribute to street greening and local ecology

Through an analysis of the site constraints and an understanding of College Road strategic position within the Fairfield masterplan, two goals have been established for the public realm: to create a safe and enjoyable connection between the north and south and to soften the scheme’s edges and contribute to street greening and local ecology. Taking the area of the western ramp footpath and adjusting the road alignment has created the opportunity for a generous colonnade route, which can be flanked by ecologically rich planting and trees. Planting will be specified to create year-round delight through seasonal flower, leaf and bark interest whilst also contributing to biodiversity and ecology by nature of the species choice. Faunal migration is also encouraged to the building’s west where a mix of native and flowering shrubs, climbers and trees provide a linear green infrastructure link between Ten Degrees and College Road.

What does outdoor space look like in a co-living environment

The landscape team at HTA has carefully designed the communal landscape space at College Road to balance rich communal amenities and environmental gains. The crowns of each tower are wrapped in generously shared terraces and framed by full-height parapets that ensure a more comfortable microclimate and minimise any sense of vertigo. Tower A terrace will feature planting, privacy and wind mitigation screens, seating in various styles, and a place to keep plants and grow vegetables. Tower B roof terrace will offer communal garden spaces with seating, play areas, allotments and small reflective seating areas, surrounded by a beautiful planting landscape and educational mural created by HTA’s long-term collaborating illustrator Nerea Bermejo.

Sustainability & Building Physics

In what ways does College Road demonstrate the potential for offsite manufacturing

College Road is a remarkable feat of modern architecture and construction. It is one of the most significant offsite manufactured buildings ever realised at 50 storeys tall using 1,680 modules. The uniqueness of this building lies in the fact that each module has been customized according to the site’s complex shape and height, to ensure the most efficient use of steel as the load changes to each floor of the building. This has been made possible by a collaborative team, who have worked together for over ten years and have delivered 11 projects so far. It is indeed one of the most significant offsite manufactured buildings in the world, delivering 937 homes and demonstrating the potential of offsite construction to create site-specific responses.

How does the modular construction of College Road differ from traditional building methods, and what advantages does it offer

Modular construction has enabled a fast delivery, taking only about four and a half years from the concept to completion, with just 28 months spent on-site. Vision Modular Construction’s volumetric solution is a leader in the industry, providing various benefits such as reduced embodied carbon, lower waste, fewer site disruptions, and improved quality of life for those involved in the construction. Every home module was delivered from the factory fully fitted out and furnished, with all the homes installed in about ten months. The facade was erected parallel to the mast climber’s modules, further accelerating delivery. The development would have been difficult to achieve without the reduced on-site demands of an offsite solution, given the very tight site and proximity to existing buildings.

Tide Construction Ltd - College Road J207A 01/23 Copyright - Richard Southall


How did the team work with the GLA and Croydon to gain planning permission for College Road

College Road is the first co-living planning application approved by the GLA and Croydon. The building represents the end result of a research and development programme by the HTA planning team in collaboration with the developer Tide and, subsequently, the operator Outpost. Throughout the application and delivery process, we worked closely with the GLA and Croydon to ensure that the finished building fulfilled the London Plan Policy requirements while also being optimized for future residents.

There was a great deal of debate with officers about the design. From the outset HTA felt that the co-living community offered a way to address growing isolation in urban residents while increasing the supply of homes across London. Our research of nearly 200 international examples led to a final design with shared co-living concentrating the day-to-day shared uses around the entrance to capture activity as residents entered and left their homes each day, with a complimentary set of ‘destination’ shared event spaces were created at the top of the tower culminating in a full roof terrace with spectacular views from 50 storeys.

Interior Design

co-living interiors

What were the factors that influenced the decision to create diverse co-living spaces

The co-living amenities at College Road provide residents with over 2,800 sqm of shared space. During the design process, we considered different options for the placement of communal spaces. We decided to create spaces at the entrance to capture daily activity and a secondary set of shared spaces at the top of the tower. We believed that providing diverse and accessible shared spaces would encourage their use and enhance the living experience for residents. To further support this vision, we collaborated with the operator Outpost, who will oversee a programme of community events in the shared spaces to help residents get to know each other and the building.

From the outset, the client recognised the critical nature of the social spaces and fostering community within the development as key to its success, in both driving rentals and maintaining renewals. TiggColl Architects were brought into the design team to enrich the interior amenity design and spatial layouts using their extensive experience in the co-living sector. The critical challenge was to engender a community at such a scale, and within a very vertical building. The material palette is inspired by the contextual architectural heritage of Croydon, having a strong mid-century feel, with each level given its own distinct identity but threaded together as a single narrative leading you through the building to create a series of homely and comfortable spaces that people want to inhabit.

The communal areas offer a range of facilities, from shared kitchens and dining areas to co-working spaces, a gym, a member’s club and bar, game rooms, a library, a prayer room, and a roof terrace. Outpost’s vision for these generous shared spaces added a further layer of richness and personality, including introducing a spa beside the gym and the grand spiral staircase that connects the roof terrace to the bar.


co-living interiors
co-living interiors
co-living interiors
co-living gym

What is the significance of the different typologies and interior design configurations in the co-living homes

HTA’s interiors team delivered apartments designed around three basic typologies with generous layouts, including a living space and kitchenette. HTA worked with developer Tide and owner and operator Outpost Management to develop these detailed designs, creating full-sized mockups with bespoke furnishings and storage to optimise each home. The homes play a vital role in London’s housing market, bridging the gap between small, rented accommodation and larger houses. In addition, co-living can address issues of urban loneliness, offering the best mix of private and communal life.

There are 817 co-living homes located in College Road, Enclave. These homes are designed with a generous layout and typically measure 3.2m wide and around 25 sqm, which exceeds the comparable space per person with more conventional ‘C3’ homes. There are 19 co-living homes on a typical floor, with almost every design being unique. Around three basic typologies are complemented by three different interior design configurations, aspects, and orientations.

In developing these typologies, a key element was the consideration of the width of the home. The aim was to design each home with optimal dimensions for a living room width instead of just a bedroom like historic co-living ‘rooms’ had done. The most common homes on each floor have a living space and kitchen by the window, with a separate bedroom. Larger homes are two rooms wide, offering discrete bedrooms with their windows and more generous living spaces. Finally, the ‘cosy’ homes combine the bedroom and living space around a bay window that maximizes daylight and views while delivering the most affordable homes. We worked closely with Tide and Outpost to develop the detailed design through full-size mock-ups that capture bespoke furnishings and storage, optimizing the space within each home. Every spare space is optimized, from fold-up beds to shelving that fills void spaces. In addition to the co-living element, the College Road tower delivers 120 affordable homes, 30% of the development by habitable rooms.

Tide Construction Ltd - College Road 02/22 Copyright - Richard Southall
Tide Construction Ltd - College Road 02/22 Copyright - Richard Southall

How can co-living help to tackle the issue of urban isolation

College Road Enclave bridges the gap between smaller rented spaces and larger purpose-built homes, offering a unique co-living experience for the residents. The building offers an average of 26.3 square meters of space, providing more space per resident than typical residential options, exceeding the London Plan/Nationally Described Space Standards for standard ‘C3’ homes. However, this calculation of space allocated per resident overlooks the true advantage of designing for communal living. While the residents have an average of 23 square meters of personal space in their homes, they also have access to 2,859 square meters of communal space, around 100 times more than they would have in a traditionally designed C3 building. Community living can play a crucial role in resolving isolation problems in urban areas, improving the feasibility of housing projects, and promoting eco-friendliness for individuals who opt for this lifestyle.