University accommodation engineering solutions Mason Hall

The University of Birmingham commissioned 3, 4, 5 and 6 storey student accommodation blocks arranged in three concentric crescents in 6 blocks per crescent.

All housing 806 single en-suite rooms, arranged in 6 bedroom flats with associated kitchens and lounge areas and 36 double room penthouse suites.

The crescents are situated by a lake in the grade I listed park. Each block has a deep cellular in situ reinforced waterproof concrete basement that acts as a raft foundation, while also providing general storage and localised plant and services for the individual blocks. There is a central ser­vice centre that serves each local basement with piped hot water.

Unique Factors:

The cellular RC deep raft provided even support over variable ground conditions and a cantilevered foundation over an existing 36 inch foul water sewer traversing the site and cutting across the corner of one of the blocks.

The superstructure was constructed from pre-cast concrete elements to provide a robust qual­ity finish and add thermal mass to even out the change in room temperatures across the day and reduce the life cycle costs of running the heating and cooling systems.

The window configuration made the stability of the external walls providing diaphragm action complex to achieve.