Mary Gee New Social Hub

The brief required a site social activities and support facilities hub building to provide support to a 360 bed student residential site.

The following key objectives set out our understanding of the client brief:


The siting of the Social Activities building is located to the interior courtyard to the rear of Residential Building T1. Immediately visible upon entry to the site from the main Ratcliffe Road entrance, the building provides a reception focal point to the site for residents, staff and visitors upon arrival.

Massing & Context

The design comprises three mono pitched Building volumes, staggered in plan and elevation, and arranged contiguously, with a flat roofed single storey entrance block.

The centre volume is two storey with the two remaining blocks being single storey.

The elevation layout of the wall and roof arrangement and orientation enables controlled amounts of glazing and ventilation louvers to be positioned appropriately to serve the scale of the interior room spaces, and provides the right amount of daylight and natural ventilation into the interior rooms and develops a rhythm to the fenestration that is residential in scale.

The plan layout in each block increases in width sequentially down the site responding to the site layout and surrounding residential buildings.

The blocks are arranged to face East & West centred around the two storey block.

The building scale and massing are subordinate to the residential blocks, which is a planning requirement, and is helped by the mono pitch roof profiling and orientation.


The blocks are purposed into three purposed volumes to comprise:

Volume 1: Main Entrance Reception & Laundry with Foyer Waiting Area & Break Out Meeting Room, Amazon Locker Post Facility

Volume 2: Two storey block – Reading Rooms , Circulation, WC , Office & Support Function Facilities

Volume 3: Flexible Social Space

This accommodation arrangement is compact, minimising circulation and develops purposed room uses that are flexible in arrangement, with simple building navigation.

The main social space is provided with a large store area to support changes of function.

The study space is located on the first floor with a separate lounge communal study space and formal reading room study space. These are set around and directly accessed off the stair and lift core, acoustically isolating the study rooms from noisy activities.

The WC facilities are centralised to the ground floor to serve all function areas.


The render finishes are selected to compliment the proposed render finishes established for the residential buildings with a concrete effect surface texture and patterning coloured brick red. This provides a clear reception building identity.

The scale of the glazed screen openings and fenestration is modelled on the interior space requirements and set out to establish a residential scale to the elevations.

The entrance is defined by a full height recessed opening clearly visible and identifiable from all main directions of approach with a fully glazed central entrance glass screen and door set. This opens up in to a light filled reception entrance foyer delivering a welcoming greeting and reception space.

Landscape Context

The building is located on the site and given context and identity through provision of a new resin bound aggregate surfacing coloured brick red to match the building elevations.

This creates hard surface area for summer use and reinforces the location and identity of the social activities building on the site.

Large scale raised bed planters formed in coloured steel are proposed to be planted with drifts of lavender and grasses to create summer and all year planting interest and soften the setting of the building, maintaining the grass court yard identity across the site

External lighting will be provided within the planting and mounted to the elevations of the building for mood lighting and practical navigation at night.

Moss Architecture .

Interiors Ltd