The Union

Leamington Spa

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A former BT storage facility has been transformed into student accommodation for developer Alumno. The project brings life back to the waterfront of the Grand Union Canal in the heart of Leamington Spa old town, with ground floor communal areas looking out onto the canal and landscaping that welcomes people through the development to the towpath.

The scheme comprises two four-storey buildings housing a total of 187 student bedrooms that include studios and four, seven and eight en-suite bedroom cluster units that are grouped around central circulation cores. Each cluster unit has dual aspect open plan living, kitchen and dining rooms located to the corners of the buildings.

The ground floor provides modern, light communal areas that overlook the canal and landscaped gardens. The light filled reception area contains large, colourful artwork mirroring the Sir Terry Frost RA designs of the external public artwork.

Typical upper floor

Each building retains an individual identity through two different brick types. The eastern block serves as a marker at the end of Althorpe Street, and the route through to the canal towpath. The longer western block takes its inspiration from the many historic canalside buildings, providing a definitive edge and promoting canalside interaction.

Concept sketch of view from Clemens Street Bridge

As part of the building works, Alumno has invested in significant improvements to the canal-side environment. New areas of public space have been created to the east and west of the development. To the east, the existing access route onto the towpath at the end of Althorpe Street has been enhanced and made more attractive to the public. To the west, the new ‘pocket park’ is also open to the public and provides a space to sit and relax along the towpath. The development is an ideal location for student accommodation being close to local amenities and with good transport links to nearby Warwick University.

Concept model