The Valentine
London Borough of Redbridge
Planning authority
London Borough of Redbridge
Architecture, Planning and Landscape

Working with Tide Construction, HTA Design delivered 321 student units using Vision Modular Systems’ innovative volumetric construction methodology during the pandemic. The student accommodation operated by CRM, the popular student accommodation brand, stands at ten storeys on an urban site in Gant’s Hill, previously occupied by the Valentine Pub.

The design team worked closely with Redbridge council to design a building that is sympathetic to the local architectural character through the distribution of the building massing and the choice of materials which include stone and brickwork, combined with gold-coloured aluminium inset screens for shading and privacy. Our design continues the street frontage to Perth Road close to the A12 and within a minutes’ walk of Gants Hill Tube Station on the Central Line, giving students easy access to multiple London universities.

The building rises from four storeys close to existing residential buildings to ten storeys on the prominent corner close to the Gants Hill roundabout. The articulation of the windows, piers, and brick infill is consistent across the building to create a simple and robust architecture. Materials have been explored in detail, with a particular emphasis placed on characterful and distinctive finishes to create a sense of character and place. The materials palette provides a connection to local distinctiveness and helps the proposal to make a positive contribution to the area by strengthening the local character and sense of place.

The successful use of handset brick and cast stone to clad a fast-track modular building proves that modular construction can be indistinguishable from other construction systems. This type of construction is ideal for student housing whilst maintaining the benefits of time, cost, and quality.

In addition, our research has demonstrated that the CO2 emissions produced in the construction of the Valentine is approximately 40% less than an in-situ reinforced concrete building. We worked closely with the manufacturer on previous projects, which enhanced our knowledge of off-site manufacturing. We were able to shorten the detailed design phase to meet the delivery programme, which was completed during the pandemic when traditional construction became more difficult to manage safely.

Modular construction, by its nature, provides several opportunities to improve the sustainability of the project during the construction process and maintain superior operating performance within the completed building.

  • Noise and disruption are reduced on site.
  • The airtightness and the thermal performance of the building fabric are higher than is usually achieved on site due to the tighter tolerances of joints that can be achieved in a factory environment.
  • The efficient use of materials and the reduced waste in the factory (less than 2%) means that embodied energy of the construction materials is also reduced.

The offsite product can offer a turn-key solution to develop residential buildings quickly and to a very high quality within budget. The Valentine was built in 10 months on-site during the pandemic and completed in time for students to move in at the start of September 2020.

HTA’s interiors team designed 269sqm of flexible communal space; cinema and gaming rooms, gym, private study rooms, large communal area with kitchen bar area and more. Whilst our Landscape team delivered the communal courtyard used for socialising.

Image credit: Tide Construction ltd and Vision

View the Timelapse of Gants Hill here (by Vision Modular & Tide Construction)

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