Like many renowned university towns, Canterbury is a victim of its own success, its burgeoning population putting pressure on already inadequate student housing stock, the result a significant city-wide rise in houses with multiple occupation (HMOs). One of the answers is to design and build halls of residence that do more than provide a first-year buffer between arriving and ending up in HMOs. With space for 540 students, Palamon Court does exactly this: set around a classic courtyard, it’s so beautifully designed – a great choice of room types, shared spaces, and amenities – as to serve as base for one’s entire university career.
Key to this is how it fits with wider built environment, and in particular Canterbury’s medieval city wall, sitting opposite, a Scheduled Ancient Monument, its archer-defence windows and its turrets informing Palamon Court’s façade and entrance. Inspiring an ‘active frontage’, it offers glimpses of the student facilities behind, whilst at the same time providing a safer pedestrian route across the front of the site, linking it back to the city and adjacent university buildings.
Palamon Court has been an unmitigated success, providing students with the ultimate fresher-to-graduate dwelling, a new type, one that hopes to kick-start a revolution in the way we house our students – and at the same time promises to free up housing for families and others in need of secure homes.