A design case study: BTR at its best – The Wullcomb, Leicester

A case study that takes a deeper look into The Wullcomb Build to Rent scheme in Leicester, a collaboration between CallisonRTKL, Long Harbour and Way of Life.

The Wullcomb kitchen and dining area - CallisonRTKL | BTR News
The Wullcomb kitchen and dining area.

The Wullcomb is an exciting new Build to Rent development that is raising the bar for the sector. Located in Leicester and completed in 2019, it comprises 297 residential units, vast resident amenities, 8,072 sq ft of commercial space and 120 onsite parking spaces.

In collaboration with Long Harbour and Way of Life, global architecture, planning and design firm CallisonRTKL conceived the project – with every element crafted with the resident and the guest in mind. For the first time, operational efficiency and management protocols were understood in terms of resident experience and embedded in the plans from the outset.

The Wullcomb post room design evolution - CallisonRTKL | BTR News
The Wullcomb post room design evolution.

Profit follows people

Defining a new model for Build to Rent that proves the profit will come if people are put first, The Wullcomb is a vertical neighbourhood that captures the personality of its residents and surrounding community, connecting them all with an enhanced lifestyle offering. 

“By focusing on the lives and interest of the people living here, we’ve been able to create communal places that feel like an extension of the home. The design compliments the social programs offered by operator Way of Life, with places to meet up with your friends and neighbours. Like any contemporary home the space is designed to be flexible and evolve with the people living there, allowing it to be personalised and to reflect the growing community.” 

Erik Mueller-Ali, Project Lead and Director, CallisonRTKL
The Wullcomb lounge area - CallisonRTKL | BTR News
The Wullcomb lounge area.

Amenities for the 21st century 

Amenities within The Wullcomb exemplify the priorities that have come to the fore in recent months, with mixed-use interior spaces, outdoor areas, and individual spaces for living and working all featuring heavily.

These include a private roof terrace, resident’s kitchen and dining area, communal workspace, a multi-purpose screening and games room and cycle storage. Allowing residents use of these areas as an extension of their personal space encourages interaction and facilitates chance encounters – one of the guiding principles of Build to Rent.

The Wullcomb work area - CallisonRTKL | BTR News
The Wullcomb work area.

“This reflects our desire to create communities, not just buildings. The interior design brief we subscribe to is about understanding the personality of a neighbourhood and creating a space that compliments its surroundings. We want people to feel they part of the place and like they belong. We’re especially proud of the feedback we’ve received from people who have made The Wullcomb their home.”

Erik Mueller-Ali, Project Lead and Director, CallisonRTKL

The post room particularly stands out. During lockdown, parcel delivery and collection were among one of the small joys for many, so why not make this an experience beyond a non-descript transaction at a counter? This dedicated room forms a sophisticated and stylish library of sorts – a space to sit and take your time enjoying the experience. 

The Wullcomb post room - CallisonRTKL | BTR News
The Wullcomb post room.

Personal not commercial 

The role CallisonRTKL played in the project transcended interior design, with the firm acting as an extension of the brand team, advising on strategic decisions about the overall offering of The Wullcomb. 

“We significantly reshaped the interior architecture, removing units to create double height spaces that would create areas of greater impact and recalibrating the format of others to create a sense of home that felt authentic to the Way of Life brand values. Lobby spaces were also reconfigured to make residents feel as though crossing the threshold to the building was coming home rather than this just being a moment they encountered at their individual front doors. 

“These experiences and feelings are the result of lots of tiny details, which in and of themselves could easily be overlooked, but together make all the difference and mean spaces feel personal rather than commercial.”

Erik Mueller-Ali, Project Lead and Director, CallisonRTKL

The result is a standout scheme that has just been shortlisted for the FX International Design Awards – and has become the number one place to live in Leicester, with its resident reviews and ratings among the highest on residential feedback site HomeViews.