Landmark student tower to revitalise London’s Olympic legacy

  • 8th May 2024

The view of the new building from across Great Eastern Road

A new 41-storey tower for Unite Students in Stratford, designed by BDP, has been given planning approval by the London Legacy Development Corporation.

The design proposes a community-first, residential high-rise tower which aims to revitalise the heart of Stratford, providing much-needed student accommodation while enhancing access to local services and public realm.

The approved plans propose extensive greening around Meridian Square and Meridian Steps, create a new entrance to Stratford Station, and provide a new home to local social enterprise, You Press.

The design works to resolve a complex urban site, presenting a new gateway to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

The building is formed of cluster flats with 952 bedrooms and public-facing facilities, including a café and retail outlets located on the three ‘ground’ floors –  accommodating the different levels at Meridian Steps.

And the student spaces are designed to open new opportunities for social interaction and allow the student cohorts to grow and develop their own community, in a new model of vertical living.


Enhancing student living

All student cluster flats are located close to internal and external amenity spaces to prioritise student wellbeing and offer access to a wide range of facilities with panoramic views of London.

The proposal also boasts contemporary study areas, gyms, and cinema rooms, all designed to enhance student living.

Sustainability is prioritised throughout the design, incorporating features such as green roofs, sustainable drainage, and being carbon neutral in operation.

Chris Jones, architect associate at BDP, said: “We have created a design for a sustainable, people-first development which reflects the potential of the site and will be a recognisable destination for years to come.

“There are more than 20,000 full-time students studying within 2.5 miles of Meridian Steps, so this building uses density and cutting-edge amenities to deliver much-needed housing for the area while enriching the local community.

“We are so pleased to see it gain planning approval and look forward to seeing this building bring more vitality and diversity to Stratford.”

A view from Stratford town centre

A changing skyline

Tom Brewerton, group development director at Unite Students, added:

“It is fantastic to have received approval at planning committee for this exciting new Stratford development, which will positively contribute to the area’s changing skyline.”

In addition to its architectural and community benefits, the development is poised to inject £7m into the local economy every year, supporting businesses and fostering a dynamic, youthful atmosphere, reminiscent of the London Olympics.

The new entrance to Stratford Station will also alleviate pressure on one of the busiest transport hubs in the UK and the development will act as a hub for creative expression and youth engagement, with You Press providing services to a diverse range of young people in Newham through the use of creative art.

And the project also includes 307 sq m of affordable workspace, aimed at supporting local businesses and entrepreneurs.

The project will now move to construction phase and will be open for occupation in time for the beginning of the 2027/28 academic year.

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