The Piano Works PBSA

A large red-bricked student accommodation building at a crossroads extending both ways surrounded by trees in an autumnal light. Students and citizens walk along the street below.

Direct Access were the accessibility consultant for The Piano Works, a new purpose-built Stour Bridge student accommodation development in Hackney.

Collaborating closely with the planning consultants Knight Frank and architects Henley Halebrown, Direct Access carried out a full access consultancy service including design review, access statement, and Inclusive Design and Access Statements to support planning applications for the new facility. 


The Piano Works is a £75m mixed-use student scheme that will complete the transformation of Hackney Wick into one of the fastest-growing educational and cultural centres in London.


The scheme will deliver 204 student beds in two six and seven-story buildings. Students will enjoy co-working facilities and space for pop-ups and creative workshops. Southern Grove hopes to exceed a planning requirement that 35% of accommodation is affordable, providing a discount on market rents of over 50% in some cases. 

The project will also house two organisations of huge importance to the local community – the London College of Fashion and Stour Trust, on a peppercorn rent for 150 years. The ground floor of both buildings will host incubator space for the London College of Fashion (University of the Arts London). This is the first time UAL has been provided with a facility like this, which promises to transform the prospects of the next generation of fashion industry leaders. 

A third five-storey building will contain 840m2 of commercial floor space. The whole space will be given to the Stour Trust – a community organisation that nurtures local commercial, artistic, and industrial enterprises. Embedding these two organisations within the scheme, the development will create a new centre of gravity in the cultural life of Hackney Wick.

A tall red-bricked student accommodation building adjacent to a quiet sideroad on an Autumn day. Trees scattered across the street have leaves dropping from their branches as students walk across the path either side of the road. This is a proof of concept photograph of the upcoming Piano Works purpose built student accommodation building.

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