With the help of two Ibstock brick types, the University of Derby’s brand-new Agard Court student accommodation is now open. The development offers students the cosmopolitan lifestyle of the UK’s most central city. Moreover, it’s just a stone’s throw away from the rolling hills of the Peak District.
Situated next to the University’s Law School, the 244-bed development lies in the Friar Gate conservation area, one of the city’s best-preserved districts. This is a historic roadside development running alongside anancient western exit from Derby City Centre, notable for its collection of Georgian townhouses.
During planning, careful consideration was placed on the project’s design due to its sensitive location. This meant that special attention was given to the character and appearance of the building, which ensures harmony with the surrounding area. The project’s contractor, Clegg Construction, also fulfilled various planning obligations to support the local community and environment as part of a Section 106 agreement.
The above design considerations were kept firmly in mind. The use of an Ibstock brick in Mercia Orange created a light texture to the façade of the accommodation. This meant that the extruded brickwork blended seamlessly with its surrounding buildings. Additionally, Eturia Mix, Ibstock’s red multi drag-faced perforated wire-cut facing brick, was used on the window surrounds. Consequently, this created a panelled effect that contrasts with the main brick façade. The building responds to the historical context of the site through subtle twists in plan and a stepped silhouette.
Ben Gerry, Ibstock’s Commercial Director, comments:
“The main challenge with this development was in creating a façade that honoured the beauty of its historic landscape. With the Mercia Orange and red Eturia Mix being close in colour, we were able to offer an aesthetic that matches the local red brick used in the 17th, 18th and 19th-century properties nearby. However, by combining two different colours, we also created a unique, yet simple effect of a series of recessed panels, rather than simply a change in material.”
Completing the building, the accommodation is crowned by brightly coloured cladding on the upper floors to emphasise its civic nature. Despite the limited space available on-site, architecture firm Carey Jones Chapman Tolcher created a courtyard to make the most of the outdoor space.
“From spending £450,000 within the local supply chain, to recycling 96% of waste, to allowing Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service to train on the site, this project became a real community offering that Ibstock is proud to have played a key role in.”
What does Agard Court bring to Derby?
Adding to the project’s historical significance, old tram tracks and cobbles discovered in the adjacent Short Street were restored. The 45-metre stretch, which carried horse-powered trams, originally ran from Friar Gate to Agard Street. It disappeared in 1876 however, when Friar Gate station and the Handyside Friar Gate Bridge were built. Old photographs, site plans, and survey data were used as a reference when it came to reinstalling the street. These have now been made accessible to students at Agard Court.
Now, Agard Court is one of Derby’s tallest buildings, standing at 9 storeys and 26 metres high. Furthermore, it is a three-time award winner at the 2019 National Student Housing Survey Awards. It earned accolades for Best Customer Service, Best Student Wellbeing and Best Environmental Management. On top of this, the project also received the International Accommodation Quality Mark.
You can check our Agard Court Case Study for more information on this development.