Commencing in 2020, this major project involves various phases to redevelop the Barretts Jaguar Land Rover site in Canterbury city centre. Abbott have completed Blocks 1-3, providing 113 units in total, with the fourth having started in July 2023.
Abbott’s work has included demolition, ground remediation, construction and fit out across multiple blocks, and is due to complete the final block and a student reception building in 2025.
The works are being undertaken on behalf of one of our long-standing clients Paul Roberts Canterbury, whilst working alongside b&m who are acting as Employers Agent.
The works entirety consists of four student accommodation blocks, each designed with a communal courtyard and walkways to connect them. Each block has its own unique design to be able to fit into a relatively small location. The first two blocks, Griffin and Davey were fairly straightforward and the easiest to manage and construct, enabling us to stay on track.
However, they were not wholly unchallenging. Davey was constructed along the existing party wall which added to the complexity of the build. The rear elevation which faces towards the Sydney Cooper Gallery is faced with weatherboarded cladding but this is supported on a unique 'helping hand' system. This involved a temporary works design with supporting steelwork, complex sequencing to support the existing wall whilst we built against it.
Both Davey and Griffin were planned to be completed at virtually the same time, with the idea that construction works could be simultaneously managed. However, the go-ahead with Davey was delayed which meant we had to adapt our schedules and bring Davey up to speed once we received confirmation to proceed.
The completion of Griffin and Davey became more of a challenge after we were instructed to proceed with the Bedford block before the first two blocks were complete. As the footprint for Bedford impeded upon our working area for the first two blocks, we had to adapt our construction programme to allow for this and begin working on Bedford earlier than expected.
Once the first two blocks were complete, our sole focus was directed to Bedford. Early on in the project, we were tasked with coming up with an innovative design to overcome a specific planning condition, due to the building being located within a conservation area. Restrictions surrounding the appearance of mechanical ventilation grilles, meant the usual ventilation routes had to be adapted, with the added introduction of specialist fire rated ductwork through the building. Intake and extract ventilation along the public elevations is now made via purpose made ‘hives’ built at roof level. These are completely obscured from public view, behind roof level parapets, and thus satisfying the local authority.
Westgate One has been built with accessibility to amenities in mind, with a central location, convenient access to public transport and providing everything students need within walking distance. The final phase began in July 2023, and is due to be completed by the beginning 2025/26 academic year, ready for a new intake of students.