During a time with an ever-growing urban population every square metre of vacant space becomes an opportunity for positive development.Critically, in respect with its surroundings, the effort in maximising a “landlocked” site's potential is challenging with factors such as overlooking, overshadowing, building heights etc to be addressed. Any new housing development should acknowledge and minimise its impact on surrounding existing structures. Our student accommodation project for 203 beds on Prussia Street had to address these factors and to be properly placed in the long-established residential community in the heart of Stoneybatter. With the addition of the new campus at DIT Grangegorman in the near future there is an opportunity to foster dialogue with existing and new residential communities. Key design drivers for the project on Prussia Street, therefore, were to devise a plan that would be visually and contextually congruous – with residential terraces encompassing the site on all four sides – while creating an active, multi-functional street and amenity spaces. The design had to address these elements simultaneously. Rather than a traditional model of a bulky building block, the student accommodation has been designed as series of a continuous “house clusters” set in a dense “mat typology” layout varying in height from one to three storeys. Equally by placing the majority of fenestration due south, rooms overlook the back of the next block and down onto an active, green courtyard and not the residents of the surrounding terraces. In turn an active student interaction is achieved internally through clever and systematic building arrangement. Meanwhile placing an entrance block to the new complex directly onto the main street activates the site directly with the neighbourhood on Prussia Street where common rooms areas and reception spaces promote mixing by a variety of uses to students and the surrounding community. A distinct character is also created within the site while addressing its main priorities. The low, alternating blocks, solid massing and large cut-outs for windows are more domestic than commercial. The chequerboard grids allow for a higher proportion of green and outdoor areas for students to inhabit. Materials used including aluminium panels, specialised bright rendering and precast concrete stairs ensure the project's long-lasting finish that's functional as sun reflecting device to increase natural light. What seems to be a simple layout is carefully composed bringing all challenges to the fore while creating something rhythmically dynamic and enjoyable to live in. The spaces are not brash but inviting for students and the surrounding residents alike. In all this project is much less like a series of traditional apartments and more like an approachable, well-connected site on Dublin's Northside; a “urban oasis” for all.