New student accommodation at Hatfield Square on track to open for January 2017
The Hatfield Square redevelopment is on track to open its doors in January 2017, offering Pretoria’s student community a mixed-use precinct that will include state-of-the-art student residences, retail and leisure facilities. Within walking distance of the University of Pretoria’s main campus, the new development will welcome students studying at any tertiary institution in the city. “The redevelopment of Hatfield Square is focused on meeting the needs of students, while providing a rejuvenated space for the public. It’s with this in mind that we briefed Paragon Architects to design a safe, accessible environment where students can live, study and play,” says Craig McMurray, CEO of Respublica, the developers driving the new development, along with Redefine Properties through their joint venture, Respublica Student Living. This approach means that each of the four buildings in the development is designed to create smaller neighbourhoods within the precinct, with common areas in and around each building to encourage interaction and movement. Intimate courtyards offer more private, smaller spaces, while an abundance of breakaway rooms and study areas offer the peace and quiet that is necessary for serious study times. With accommodation for 2,200 students, Hatfield Square offers five accommodation formats to suit the needs and budget of every student. However, regardless of their individual space, every student will have access to all of Hatfield Square’s premium facilities, which include a gym, recreation rooms, laundry facilities, computer and study rooms, swimming pool, and unlimited WiFi broadband. The four main buildings in the residence complex are built using Hebel Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC), a revolutionary material offering a unique combination of strength, light-weight, thermal insulation, sound absorption, unsurpassed fire resistance and an unprecedented ease of construction. Cut and shaped like wood with simple hand tools, AAC block’s naturally smooth surface only requires a skim coat thus eliminating the need to plaster conventionally. This system has contributed to the clockwork-timing of Hatfield Square, as a two-man team working with AAC blocks can build up to 25 square metres per day – allowing for the speed of construction that is 2-10x faster than that of conventional building. The entire Hatfield Square precinct will feature a complete intelligent wireless network that will allow each user to connect multiple devices, offering easy access to online courses, distance learning, social media and video streaming. The building also features an IP networked biometric access control system to ensure students’ security, complemented with a CCTV system that will monitor entrances, exits and the precinct’s perimeter. As a ground-breaking project that sets new standards in student accommodation, Hatfield Square will feature energy efficient lighting and control systems fitted with LED lighting. All common areas are fitted with occupancy sensors to switch lighting on when movement is detected. Installed generators will provide lighting and run all essential systems throughout the buildings in the event of a power outage. Students will have easy access to the variety of retail outlets in approximately 2,700m2 of purpose-designed space for sit-down and quick service restaurants, fashion outlets and technology stores in the Square, that have been carefully chosen to ensure that students will not have to travel far to meet their basic needs. The redevelopment of the 11 740m² site, which pays homage to Hatfield Square’s heritage of being at the heart of Pretoria’s student culture, will cover more than 90,000 m2 of gross building area on completion of phase two. The first phase of the development, which includes the retail component, will be ready for occupation for the 2017 academic year, with the remaining phase expected to be ready for occupation for the 2018 academic year. Respublica’s portfolio of residences includes Saratoga Village and The Fields in Doornfontein, which provide accommodation for University of Johannesburg, Central Johannesburg College and University of the Witwatersrand students. Yale Village, Respublica’s newest 1,330 bed development in Empire Road across from WITS is set to open in early 2017. In Midrand, Pearson Village services students from Pearson International (ex MGI). In Pretoria, West City, Urban Nest and Eastwood Village accommodate students from Tshwane University of Technology and University of Pretoria.