Meet the tallest modular student accommodation building in Europe

The Lewisham Exchange development stands more than 100m at its highest point, making it the tallest modular student accommodation building in Europe and is built from 3D volumetric structural modules.

Lewisham Exchange’s new twin-tower block structure consists of 35 and 20 storeys and accommodates more than 750 student apartments and around 70 affordable homes. Meanwhile, its commercial properties at the foot of the structure achieved an ‘Excellent’ BREEAM rating, putting it in the top 10% of buildings from a sustainability performance perspective.

The ambitious scheme was constructed by Main Contractor Tide Construction using 3D volumetric structural modules, manufactured offsite. This enabled onsite construction to be streamlined and contributed to the impressive 35-week completion of the Mechslip brick slip cladding installation by Century Facades Ltd, who also carried out the window installation off site. This unique modular build saw the housing ‘pods’ manufactured in optimal facility conditions, including windows, delivered to site where they were erected around the building’s lift cores. Then, once ten stories were complete, the external envelope’s Mechslip cladding was constructed in unison, chasing the finished pods up the building.

Offsite design and assembly of the modular pods not only ensured time-saving benefits compared to more traditional methods of concrete or steel frame, but also quality of product, with each being manufactured in optimal facility conditions for consistency. Furthermore, sustainability efforts were achieved through the reduction in transportation to and from site meaning less carbon emissions.

Lewisham Exchange was the most advanced Mechslip application to date, with more than 10,000m² of the technology contributing beautiful, intricate, and complex arches, soft returns, and bond patterns across the structure. The arches themselves were constructed onsite, allowing for full creativity of design, and not being limited by difficult transportation methods that other building methods may fall foul of. Brick returns leading into windows, eye-catching vertical coursing and large curved soffits all added to the modern architecture of the Lewisham Exchange to form an overall striking facade and geometry in the centre of urban London to really capture the vision of JTP Studios, the architects for the project in intricate detail.

Discover Mechslip for offsite construction here.