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Cobham Bowers, Surrey

Words:
Regional Awards Jury

2024 RIBA South East Awards Building of the Year goes to Coffey Architects’ apartments for the over-65s, which recognise the value growing numbers of older people place on good design

Cobham Bowers. Phil Coffey
Cobham Bowers. Phil Coffey

2024 RIBA South East Award
2024 RIBA South East Building of the Year sponsored by EH Smith

Cobham Bowers, Surrey
Coffey Architects for Lifestory Group

Contract value: £16.9m
GIA: 6,726m2
Cost per m2: £2,513

This scheme, with apartments for sale and rent for the over-65s, has replaced a derelict office building in the leafy Surrey village of Cobham. The enlightened client recognises that exemplary design is important to an increasing number among Britain’s ageing population, and wants to offer well-designed, sophisticated homes for those wishing to downsize or move into accommodation more suitable for later living. Cobham Bowers provides quality accommodation for individuals and couples moving from long-term family homes to a more compact and convivial way of life. The architect has arranged its 53 light-filled flats, with generous balconies and windows, in two light grey brick buildings linked by a communal ground-floor space and a lush, peaceful walled garden. This is the architect’s second project for the same client. The jury was impressed with the way in which quite a large development gives the impression of being domestic in scale, thanks to the gabled roofs which run at right angles to each other. Each of the blocks is divided by six expressive pitched roofs oriented in different directions, to break up the mass and attune with other village buildings.

  • Cobham Bowers. Phil Coffey
    Cobham Bowers. Phil Coffey
  • Cobham Bowers. Phil Coffey
    Cobham Bowers. Phil Coffey
  • Cobham Bowers. Phil Coffey
    Cobham Bowers. Phil Coffey
  • Cobham Bowers. Phil Coffey
    Cobham Bowers. Phil Coffey
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Each of the blocks is divided by six expressive pitched roofs oriented in different directions, to break up the mass and attune with other village buildings.

The gables are in grey brick, with terracotta roof tiles and recessed gutters. The quality of detailing and careful handling of materials, from the brickwork through to rainwater downpipes and the integration of the gardens, are worthy of praise.

The ground-floor entrance leads into a communal reception space in which events take place and group activities are organised. Residents are encouraged to use this space as much or as little as they like. It looks into the garden and external seating. The whole project creates a new sense of space and relates harmoniously to parks and play areas in the vicinity.

  • Cobham Bowers. Phil Coffey
    Cobham Bowers. Phil Coffey
  • Cobham Bowers. Phil Coffey
    Cobham Bowers. Phil Coffey
  • Cobham Bowers. Phil Coffey
    Cobham Bowers. Phil Coffey
  • Cobham Bowers. Phil Coffey
    Cobham Bowers. Phil Coffey
  • Cobham Bowers. Phil Coffey
    Cobham Bowers. Phil Coffey
12345

The scheme was developed with retirement living specialist Pegasus, part of the Lifestory Group. It commented on the importance of choosing architects for the project who ‘understood what it was like to design homes for older people, meaning people can age in place’. Its previous experience with Coffey Architects had demonstrated not only the practice’s exceptional design abilities, but also that it ‘recognised the value of shared and communal spaces and the connectivity between one’s home as a personal sanctuary and communal space you could enjoy with other residents’.

See the rest of the RIBA South 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 Keady Construction
Structural engineer Symmetrys
Environmental/M&E engineer Milieu
Quantity surveyor/cost consultant
Equals
Landscape architect UBU
Acoustic engineer Adrian James Acoustics
Interior design Love Interiors

 

Credit: Coffey Architects
Credit: Coffey Architects
Credit: Coffey Architects
Credit: Coffey Architects
Credit: Coffey Architects
Credit: Coffey Architects

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