David Russell Apartments

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David Russell Apartments as viewed from Haldane House in February 2009.

David Russell Apartments (or DRA) is a large residential complex owned by the University of St Andrews, its first phase being opened in September 2003. It replaces, and was built on the site of the now demolished David Russell Hall (often referred to as DRH). It is situated around twenty minutes' walk from the centre of St Andrews, in East Fife, Scotland.

The development consists of a series of independent buildings (or houses) clustered around a central facilities building, and overlooking a man made lake, which forms part of the sustainable urban drainage scheme. Uniquely, the central facilities building's roof is topped with grass, which acts as a heat insulator during the winter and a natural cooler during the summer months. In 2006, DRA was the first university residence in the country to be awarded the Green Tourism Business Scheme's Gold Award.


David Russell Hall[edit]

The old David Russell Hall in 1986

David Russell Hall was a student residential complex owned by the University of St Andrews. The original hall was built in the 1960s and comprised a series of independent blocks, or houses, connected by covered walkways and set amid gardens. The accommodation blocks were named after notable figures associated with the St Andrews area. At the centre of the complex was the dramatic spire-topped facilities building, incorporating the "Strachan Suite" and other amenities, such as a pool room, music room and television room. Each house was divided into a "low" and "high" section (referring to the room numbers) and shared a common room and pantry. Meals in the hall were provided in a central refectory for all residents, with out of hours meals available in the Strachan Suite café and the limited catering facilities provided in the pantries.


David Russell Hall was redeveloped in several phases, beginning with the opening of new apartment blocks to the north-east of the site in 2003. The existing buildings of the hall were gradually demolished, beginning in the summer of 2003 and all but three of the blocks were razed, making way for the new residential blocks. The current redevelopment was completed in September 2006, and has been rebranded as David Russell Apartments.

The first four houses of DRA (named Scott, Lindsay, Forbes and Haig) were completed in time for the University's Martinmas semester of 2003-2004 and are situated to the immediate east of the original DRH boundary. Up until February 2004 students continued to live in the original DRH houses and shared a central facilities building called the Strachan Suite with the four new DRA houses. In 2004, all remaining residents in DRH were transferred to other student halls in St Andrews and the remaining three blocks were razed to the ground.

Building immediately commenced on the second phase which comprised Tulloch, Shairp, Herkless, Nisbet and Lang houses, followed by Haldane, Fraser and Donaldson and the new central facilities block, and was completed in time for the start of the 2005-2006 academic year. The final phase (for the time being), consisted of the construction of Eden, Dover and Hamilton houses, and was handed over from the builders in September 2006. However, cosmetic work around the site still takes place.

The majority of the names given to each of the new apartment blocks are the same as those used for the original David Russell houses. Although the University rebranded David Russell Hall as David Russell Apartments, the old name continues to be widely used, for example on service buses, maps, public signage and even at the entrance to the David Russell complex itself. On 23 February 2007, Chancellor Gordon Brown formally opened the £34.7m David Russell Apartments. The hall was praised for its state-of-the-art environmentally friendly features.

Fife Park[edit]

Fife Park Houses and Fife Park Apartments are two postgraduate residences bordering David Russell Apartments and sharing the same facilities building and wardennial team.

The houses are currently being refurbished.[1] Fife Park Apartments opened in 2010 and are similar to David Russell Apartments. They offer additional studios for couples.


The apartments have been built to be attractive to golfers so include en-suite bathrooms, double beds with television sets and kitchens with ovens and dishwashers, which remains an unusual 'luxury' in university residences. The University rents rooms to conference guests during the golfing season, and to students outside that season at 75% off the in-season price. However, some students have complained about thin walls with poor sound insulation and that the layout of the apartments within each block does not contribute to students meeting each other and making friends.[citation needed]

The central facilities building contains a reception and administration area, meeting rooms, gaming and music suites, a large licensed bar and self-service bistro area.


  1. ^ "Empty University rooms to accommodate Fife Park residents", in The Saint, 31 October 2012.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 56°20′11″N 2°49′22″W / 56.33639°N 2.82278°W / 56.33639; -2.82278