Viewranks Estates and Assael Architecture have been given the go-ahead by the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames for a 200-room co-living development in Kingston Town Centre
The proposals respond to the borough’s strategy ‘Re-imagining Kingston Town Centre’s Streets and Spaces’ to ensure the injection of public life, footfall and activity into the town centre.
Assael’s design draws on the site’s history as a cinema and public forum with an art deco inspired architectural language and the reprovision of a community hub for residents and the wider public, including a new co-working base, ‘field-to-fork’ restaurant and additional amenities for residents
Assael builds upon past experience and insight from the design of their other co-living schemes
Privately owned, SW London-based Viewranks Estates and award-winning architecture practice Assael Architecture have been given the green light for a 200-room co-living development in the commercial heart of Kingston Town Centre.
The £60m scheme will be fully managed by Nineyards Living, a new forward-thinking brand focused on providing a boutique co-living experience tailored towards the environment in which it sits. Kingston is the first of three co-living schemes Nineyards is bringing forward across the Capital. The vision is to deliver this flagship concept for Kingston with high-quality, flexible co-living rooms and a welcoming development for the wider community.
The proposals respond to three key areas identified in the Royal Borough of Kingston’s strategy, Re-imagining Kingston; the adaptability of retail on the high street; ensuring the injection of public life, footfall and activity into the town centre, including reviving a night-time economy; and providing opportunities to keep young professionals in the borough, who are currently under catered for and/or priced out of the area.
The design of Nineyards Kingston therefore reimagines the traditional high street and brings in a mix of uses and flexibility to ensure resilience in today’s struggling retail and town centres. The ground floor space seeks to welcome the surrounding community into the building with an open plan, adaptable working and events space and adjoining ‘field-to-fork’ restaurant, which will be open from breakfast through to dinner for residents and the public.
The internal arrangement is designed to offer a variety of co-living rooms, each with an en-suite, kitchenette, plentiful storage, and flexible furniture arrangements that can seamlessly transform the room between day and night. These rooms are complemented by a suite of amenities, including a gym and yoga studio, screening room, lounge and large ‘MasterChef-style’ catering kitchen, that have been curated to offer a diverse range of activities for residents and to foster a community within the building.
The site, currently occupied by PC World and Sports Direct, once housed the Royal County Theatre and Super Cinema, which operated from 1917-1940. The architectural language of the proposal references this art deco past, whilst also taking inspiration from the current properties locally. A palette of buff brickwork, metalwork and glossy green terracotta references the branding on the adjacent listed Bentall Centre, with fluted terracotta detailing that echoes the stonework details of the former Royal County Theatre amongst other buildings along Fife Road. The form of the building is staggered to create a series of external gardens and roof terraces for residents with the massing of the building climbing in scale towards the Bentall Centre to the west.
Planning officers consider the proposed development, including public realm enhancements that include resurfacing the adjacent pavements, tree planting and new cycle stands, to be of high quality that would raise the standard of built development in the area. The scheme is also targeting BREEAM Excellent design, which even includes reharvesting the heat from waste shower water back into the building
Tim Chapman-Cavanagh, Director at Assael Architecture and former Kingston resident of 15 years says,
“Up and down the country, we’re seeing the decline of the traditional high street, and although we designed Nineyards pre-Covid, the past seven months has only accelerated this trend. The design principles for Nineyards Kingston are therefore more relevant than ever.”
“Having lived in the borough for over 15 years, our vision from the outset has been to keep the vibrancy we’re all used to in the town centre. The development not only offers new homes to help retain talent in the borough, but also brings in people and activity, alongside increasingly important co-working and homeworking opportunities that enables residents and the local community to easily separate home life from work without the need to travel to the office.”
“Building on our experience in the design of other co-living developments and our expertise in Build to Rent, we’ve ensured that the internal configuration is functional and efficient to operate for Nineyards, while also providing high-quality and community-focused spaces for future residents.”
Richard Beim, Managing Director of Viewranks Estates says,
“We’re delighted that our first and flagship development for Nineyards Living has been given the green light. Our company invests in high growth areas of London, and Kingston is the first of three sites where we are looking to deliver high-quality co-living accommodation.”
“We have found the Kingston authorities to be forward-looking in recognising the need for the town to adapt to a less retail and consumption-led economy and have been supportive to projects that provide greater social value with a more sustainable design.”
“With new headquarter offices in the pipeline for Unilever PLC and Lidl, significant high-quality residential schemes plus continued investment into sustainable transport, we believe Kingston will be a great place to live long into the future.”