Merchant Studios is a 262 ‘studio’ bedroom development situated in Glasgow’s city centre and embodies a different approach to traditional student accommodation, focusing on the development and operation of a ‘boutique hotel style’ contemporary, carbon-zero student community. 

ICA were approached by Legacy Student Living to develop proposals for a highly sustainable, high quality student accommodation situated on a key gap site on Duke Street, Glasgow which forms part of the Collegelands Masterplan.  The Masterplan was instigated to allow for the regeneration and transformation of former railway sidings into a vibrant, new commercial, leisure and residential district in Glasgow city centre and is ideally located to provide student accommodation due to being within easy access to university and college locations across the city. 

The bedroom design for Merchant Studios was developed with the understanding that the bedroom layout and ‘feel’ would be rolled out across Legacy’s future developments.  Bedroom dimensions were kept to a minimum, which maximised the room number on the site, whilst providing everything the modern student requires. Each self-contained studio is equipped with a double bed, plenty of work space and storage, its own ensuite shower room and stylish kitchen and dining areas. Bedrooms were also designed to allow for cohabitation, cleverly maximising study and sleeping spaces whilst allowing for cooking and dining for two. 

The ground floor areas were designed to contain spacious and bright social areas, as well as quiet study spaces, with an intimate and relaxed interior - an important part of pastoral care and well-being and central to the student experience.

Legacy Student Living specialise in low carbon, highly sustainable developments. As such, ICA led the design of Merchant Studios to incorporate zero carbon design principles throughout, including the utilisation of renewable power sources, on-site CHP production, PV panel arrays and air source heat capture technology. Water efficient fixtures and fittings and the management of rainwater were also included to ensure the building limited the reliance on mains water consumption.  Furniture, decoration and fittings were also sustainably sourced.

In January 2016, Merchant Studios was the first Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) applicant for student accommodation in the UK.  RHI is a government environmental programme that provides financial incentives to increase the uptake of renewable heat by businesses, the public sector and non-profit organisations, as a way to help the UK reduce carbon emissions.

The resulting development is a distinctive, intimate and comfortable student residence, powered by clean and sustainable energy sources, with a series of high quality public spaces and facilities provided for communal use.