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Beechwood Village, Basildon

Words:
Regional Awards Jury

Pollard Thomas Edwards and Outerspace turn to MMC to create high-density, low-rise development that can be customised by owners – and take away a 2024 RIBA East Award

Beechwood Village. Credit: Nick Kane
Beechwood Village. Credit: Nick Kane

2024 RIBA East Award

Beechwood Village, Basildon
Pollard Thomas Edwards with Outerspace for private client
Contract value: Confidential
GIA: 25,862m2

Beechwood Village, part of a wider masterplan extension for Basildon, is an exemplar for the design and delivery of housing within a context of a low-rise suburban development. While deceptively familiar in its scale and use of materials, it breaks the mould by delivering much higher densities than is typical in surrounding developments, and attaining high levels of quality and sustainability through off-site modular construction. Importantly, it allows each owner to customise the design of their own home, creating an unusual level of variety. The architect accomplished all this within a relatively constrained budget, reflecting the local housing market. The result is an environment with a real sense of place. The efficiencies of off-site construction, together with the use of cross-laminated timber (CLT), allowed the scheme to achieve low levels of embodied carbon. Together with a fabric-first design approach, it has also delivered high-performance facades with enhanced levels of airtightness and insulation.

  • Beechwood Village. Credit: Nick Kane
    Beechwood Village. Credit: Nick Kane
  • Beechwood Village. Credit: Nick Kane
    Beechwood Village. Credit: Nick Kane
  • Beechwood Village. Credit: Nick Kane
    Beechwood Village. Credit: Nick Kane
  • Beechwood Village. Credit: Nick Kane
    Beechwood Village. Credit: Nick Kane
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To deliver the scheme, the client set up a factory within one mile of the site to produce the CLT modules. This approach delivered much higher quality construction than had been realised on earlier phases of the masterplan, while contributing to the local economy and reducing transport emissions and costs. An ‘online configurator’ allowed residents to amend the planning and details of their houses through custom-build options. This has resulted in a scheme which presents a lack of repetition to an extent that normally arises only with customisation over time. Attaining this variety through the design process and planning permission application has required a rigorous architectural approach. In particular, potential variation had to be documented through the planning process, in advance of the customisation of the design that purchasers would undertake.

  • Beechwood Village. Credit: Nick Kane
    Beechwood Village. Credit: Nick Kane
  • Beechwood Village. Credit: Nick Kane
    Beechwood Village. Credit: Nick Kane
  • Beechwood Village. Credit: Pollard Thomas Edwards
    Beechwood Village. Credit: Pollard Thomas Edwards
  • Beechwood Village. Credit: Pollard Thomas Edwards
    Beechwood Village. Credit: Pollard Thomas Edwards
  • Beechwood Village. Credit: Pollard Thomas Edwards
    Beechwood Village. Credit: Pollard Thomas Edwards
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Walking through the scheme, the jury was impressed by the genuine sense of place that had been created. Rather than the streetscape being dominated by cars, the parking requirement has been accommodated largely on-plot, prioritising views of the communal spaces. Street widths and housing typologies are varied and there is an interplay of housing, streets, and landscape, which creates areas of different character within the scheme. Across the centre of the development is a series of ‘linked greens’ which provide communal amenity space for residents and create a wildlife corridor between neighbouring parks. As a whole, the scheme creates a convincing, contemporary neighbourhood which, by employing innovative design and construction methodologies, has delivered a sense of agency, quality and variety for its residents.

See the rest of the RIBA East winners hereAnd all the RIBA Regional Awards here.

To see the whole RIBA Awards process visit architecture.com.

RIBA Regional Awards 2024 sponsored by EH Smith and Autodesk

Credits

Contractor Nu Living / Nu Build
Structural engineer Ramboll UK
MEP engineer Ramboll UK
Sustainability Ramboll UK
Planning consultant Iceni
Transport consultant RPS Group
Building control Butler & Young

 

Credit: Pollard Thomas Edwards
Credit: Pollard Thomas Edwards
Credit: Pollard Thomas Edwards
Credit: Pollard Thomas Edwards
Credit: Pollard Thomas Edwards
Credit: Pollard Thomas Edwards

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