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Astor College

Astor College is an award-winning residence in the heart of Fitzrovia, with iconic London locations at walking distance in every direction. Two hundred and ninety four residents call it home.

A woman wearing headphones walks across the entrance of Astor College, the award-winning UCL hall of residence

24 June 2021

Project Overview

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A truly exceptional student experience

"The redevelopment of Astor College will mean better facilities that will deliver a truly exceptional student experience... We’ve increased bed spaces, created fully accessible rooms, and improved the layout to foster community living."
~ Duncan Palmer, Director (UCL Strategy and Experience)

The renovation of Astor College forms part of UCL's wider strategy to provide 4,000 modern student bedrooms across London. The addition of an outdoor yard and an open-plan common area creates space for students to make the space their own, a home away from home, and a community hub. Constructed in the 1960s, the halls were reopened in 2019 with a new facade, a new ground floor courtyard, and fully refurbished bedrooms.

Impact

The experience of students who live at Astor College has been transformed by the redesign of the college. There are now more bedrooms whilst each room has a larger bed than before. Step-free accessibility throughout the building is guaranteed. The refreshed building boasts: 

  • 294 student bedrooms, an increase of 60 additional bedrooms
  • Improved step-free routes including ramp access, accessible lifts, and 5 wheelchair-accessable en-suites
  • Modern kitchens with open-plan dining areas support students to choose how and when they eat
  • Effortless wayfinding with tailored Astor College branding to create a personalised residence
  • Communal lounges on the ground floor and a furnished outdoor courtyard create a social hub for the whole college

Bigger, more accessible, and a stronger community

"Where students live and the communities they build, have a profound and lasting effect on their experience at university and their success in their studies. Our redevelopment of Astor College is a powerful example of UCL's commitment to deliver what matters most to our students and enhance every student's experience. Students have been heavily involved from the start to ensure future residents will find Astor College a great place to study, to live, and to relax. It's bigger, more accessible, and designed to help build a stronger sense of community."
~ Professor Anthony Smith, 
Vice-Provost (Faculties)

Sustainability, Access, and Inclusion

The halls are located in a mixed residential and retail area, so an emphasis was placed on reusing materials wherever possible to minimise the amount of traffic to site and construction waste. This resulted in a BREEAM 'Very Good' rating. Astor College now has a much smaller resource footprint after refurbishment:

  • The rooftop solar array contributes to a 50% reduction in emissions of CO2 
  • The building requies 40% less water consumption compared to before the refurbishment
  • Appliances, lighting, and amenities have a high level of energy efficiency reducing the base load of the building
  • Recessed insulated windows keep rooms warm in the winter and cool in the summer
  • Noise and light pollution from the college have been reduced, helping us to be good neighbours

Architects and Contractors

Levitt Bernstein were the architects for this project, and their design was built by contractors Galliford Try, supported by DLA Architecture.
 

Awards

The renovation of the college has transformed the experience of students, which has been recognised by winning the 2019 Student Accommodation Awards, organised by Property Week magazine.

Winner

Student Accommodation Awards 2019, University Halls of Residence of the Year