Architect behind Sheffield’s student living scheme picks up Northern Design Award

The architectural practice behind Nurtur House in Sheffield has just been awarded a prestigious Northern Design Award 2021.

David Cox Architects was announced winner of the ‘Best Residential Development’ category following judging by prolific industry names including Wayne Hemmingway, Linda Barker and George Bond. The Awards are well respected in the world of architecture and interiors and represent a true celebration of northern design and style.

Located on Allen Street in the St Vincent’s Quarter of Sheffield, Nurtur House student accommodation was designed with a holistic focus on the health and wellbeing of the residents.

The design process began with the concept of encouraging social interactions between students, providing breakout spaces both outdoors and indoors. Placing communal areas at various locations around the building, no matter how large or small, allows the occupier to explore. It also encourages a welcome chat or the start of a lifelong friendship.

Following a period of research and development using the findings of charities such as Student Minds, the team at David Cox Architects was acutely aware that the poor design of student environments can negatively influence many aspects of wellbeing; impacting sleep, hygiene, nutrition, and a student’s ability to form communities. Providing spacious bedroom sizes throughout ensured students comfort and there was an emphasis on large windows due to the significant benefit of natural daylight for improvement in mood, plus a sense of calm and connection to nature. Noise has also been found to influence mental health, so sound proofing was a critical factor and successfully carried out.

The final design wholeheartedly celebrated health and wellbeing at its very core. The development featured a rooftop terrace and ground level garden, large communal areas, the ‘home room’ which is a get-together facility for cooking events and nights in watching movies, and a residents’ gym available for use at any time. It also has an on-site concierge service offering healthy meals for students, as well as a calm room for yoga, tai chi or some quiet meditation. Group wellbeing activities led by the operator, Nurtur Student Living, continues this focus on a daily basis.

David Cox, director at David Cox Architects commented, “From the outset, Nurtur House has been a scheme of which we are very proud, even more so now that the development has been recognised within our industry. It’s the perfect combination of a dramatic architectural design entirely suited to its topographical context, and the passionate commitment to student health and wellbeing during every step of the process.

“From initial conversations with the developer Fraser Morgan, to scheme design, delivery stage and post-occupancy, the entire project team challenged themselves and each other in terms of providing a thoroughly well considered wellbeing experience which would provide a ‘home-from-home’ for students.”

Mark Robinson, managing director of Fraser Morgan, said, “We envisioned a space for students to enjoy high levels of comfort, and luxury yet affordable living. Resident feedback shows that we captured that at Nurtur House.

“Every detail in the design and planning process centred on student wellbeing; spacious studios provide a safe place for students to relax and study, while large communal areas promote socialising and a sense of community.

“While COVID-19 produced many an unforeseen challenge for all involved, collecting this award is testament to the hard-work, commitment and dedication that ensured this project was a success.”

Find out more about the design here .

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