london-based practice WilkinsonEyre has completed an undergraduate village for the dyson institute of engineering and technology. the landscaped village of timber modular-housing pods, with communal amenities and a central social and learning hub, is based within the dyson malmesbury campus in wiltshire. as well as establishing a new typology in student accommodation, the project breaks ground in the design, masterplanning and precision engineering of truly modular prefabricated building technologies for rapid construction.
all images © peter landers
designed by WilkinsonEyre, the village can accommodate up to 50 students together with visiting staff. the high-quality living pods are prefabricated from cross-laminated timber for rapid on-site assembly. these pods are arranged in units, rising two to three-stories, to create a welcoming social space to the campus alongside the larger industrial buildings.
certain clusters of this village involve pods which cantilever up to three meters, pushing the structural properties of the material. the pods are also designed to harness CLT’s thermal massing, and provide high quality and energy efficient living spaces. aesthetically, the timber has been left exposed through the pods’ internal spaces, including the kitchens and bathrooms, to create warm and natural living environments throughout.
each pod has been designed with natural ventilation and large, triple-glazed windows, individually angled to give each resident an expansive view across the campus. the pods are clad externally with aluminium rainscreen panels, and depending on their position within each unit, given sedum-covered roofs.
measuring eight by four meters, each pod has open-plan accommodation. this layout comprises an entrance zone with an adjacent shower and toilet, a central bedroom area and a work/living space, positioned to optimise the generous levels of natural light. the pods were manufactured off-site and each unit was delivered to site fully fitted, with bespoke furniture and built-in storage, before being craned into position.
the pods are arranged in a variety of cluster configurations, within a crescent-shaped site, following the curve of a surrounding landscaped embankment. each cluster consists of up to six units, including a shared kitchen and laundry space at mid entry level, and an entry area with reception and storage. to create the feel of a student village, each pod has its own front door, with lower pods opening onto landscaped garden, and higher ones accessed by paths on curved earth ramps and stairs to the upper level.