New five-storey student accommodation building, featuring a cross-laminated timber structure. A double-height, reinforced concrete basement houses the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights.

Eckersley O’Callaghan designed the original structural scheme for this student accommodation building, which gained planning permission in 2008. Since then, a double-height basement has been added to house the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, including an auditorium, a 200-seat lecture theatre and seminar rooms.

The Hands Building comprises 78 en-suite student bedrooms, together with a common room and staff offices. The building has been constructed from an arrangement of cross-laminated timber (CLT) walls and floors, a prefabricated form of construction that reduces build time, the number of deliveries required to the site, and therefore disruption to the surrounding campus. It also reduces environmental impact, due to timber’s sustainable attributes. The exterior facade is clad in stone with prominent use of structural glass.

The two-storey basement is a reinforced concrete box, sitting deep in a high water table. A limited number of internal supports allow for the large spaces required in the brief. The base of the concrete box forms a raft slab foundation that supports the structures above, with a dual system of a cavity drain and waterproof concrete providing waterproofing protection. Temporary props and dewatering facilitated the construction adjacent to several important existing buildings.

The Bonavero Institute of Human Rights was opened by Kofi Anan in June 2018.

Oxford, UK

Mansfield College