There's a flurry of projects this month concerned with the business of living – and even dying
For the latest consents, RIBAJ moves out of the capital and looks to the provinces- and it provides rich pickings. Architype is turning the dreams of a Bristol community land trust into reality. In Essex meantime, Tonkin Liu is doing the same for a smaller community which is adding a dramatic new extension to a grade II* listed house. Moxon Architects serves its own interests with its spacious new offices on a disused quarry site just a stone’s throw from its Balmoral neighbours.
Guy Holloway Architects is dealing with the quick and the rich with its three Paragraph 55 homes just shy of the Tenterden conservation area in Kent, while the retired are served by AHMM in Tunbridge Wells. Those shuffling off this mortal coil can now do it with considered elegance at Haverstock’s new crematorium in Guildford.
NEW QUARRY STUDIO, ABERDEENSHIRE
Client: Moxon Architects
Architect: Moxon Architects
Total area: 400m2
Planning authority: Aberdeenshire Council
Planning ref: APP/2017/1342
It’s a measure of the success of small practice Moxon that the London and Aberdeenshire firm is having to build new offices in the small Scottish village of Crathie to deal with all the new work it’s had in recently. This includes commissions for HS2 and Argent, a new hotel for art gallery Hauser and Wirth, the Cairngorms National Park HQ and an intriguing new ticket booth for Leicester Square in London.
The new 400m2 project is effectively split into two low-lying buildings on a disused quarry site. One, protected by the landscape, holds the quiet, ‘working’ side of the practice, with studio, meeting rooms and back-of-house facilities all nestled into its setting. The other building, facing the nearby road, houses the social and flexible working spaces with a lounge and informal meeting area for greeting guests and clients. The two are connected by a covered walkway that allows enjoyment of the surroundings.
There is a limited palette of materials; concrete, glass and recycled shuttering, and the oversailing roofs will be decked with an extensive roof planted with the same species that populate the site now.
NEW HOUSE & OLD HOUSE, BRENTWOOD, ESSEX
Client: Clockwork Group
Architect: Tonkin Liu
Total area: 897m2
Planning authority: Essex County Council
Planning ref: 17/00692/FUL 17/00693/ Listed Building Consent
This is the refurbishment and radical extension of a grade II* listed property in Brentwood for a community housed in 12 apartments, six of which are in the old house and six in the new. Between the two a communal garden courtyard has been created, inspired by the form of the baroque rounded Georgian bay of the original house.
A large monopitch roof slopes down from three storeys to one, addressing this and the courtyard, allowing six generous, light-filled flats to be inserted beneath it. Not only is the monopitch a green roof, it is also installed with PV’s and solar thermal panels, supplying the whole development with electricity and hot water.
In the old house meantime, the 17th century original core of the home has been restored, with modern, piecemeal interior alterations cleared away to bring an overarching order to the refurbished layouts. Each of the ‘old’ apartments contains unique historical features. The ground floor level of the old house retains its purpose as a community space, directly accessing the courtyard to its rear.
BEECHWOOD FARM, TENTERDEN, KENT
Client: Jarvis Homes
Architect: Guy Holloway Architects
Total area: 1,068m2
Planning authority: Ashford Borough Council
Planning reference: 17/00446/AS
Permission for three Paragraph 55 homes at St Michaels village in Tenterden was surprisingly awarded under delegated powers with support from the local council for this undesignated site outside the historical Kent village’s boundary.
Set within a Designated Landscape Character Area on the edge of St Michaels and overlooking a golf course, the three speculative homes are set within and grow out of the hillside. The dwellings have been designed to fold into the landscape with undulating roofs following the topography of the site. Extensive grass roofs and a living wall facades anchor the buildings to the landscape. Each house has, the architect says, been designed to take full advantage of views and contemporary open plan living.
The Officer’s Assessment report is interesting, being the main document upon which the delegated powers decision will have been made. For those architects in the capital who have had domestic applications refused for any number of subjective readings of policy, it makes for a heartening read.
Client: Bristol Community Land Trust & United Communities
Total area: 1.4ha
Planning authority: Bristol City Council
Planning ref: 17/01920/F
This £6.7 million development on steeply sloping, abandoned and overgrown site in the Lockleaze area of Bristol is set to provide 49 new homes for members of a community land trust and two common houses that will offer mixed-use commercial space. The proposal will also incorporate areas of existing wild land as well as generous areas of usable recreational common land.
The architect says that the architectural language has been developed through close collaboration with the future residents and Bristol vernacular. There’s a common material palette that unifies the development, but residents will self-finish their homes and can customise their units by painting them. Critically, this also improves affordability.
Architype has used a fabric-first construction method, with MVHR units in every home. A combined heat and power network is also proposed, which will use PV roof tiles and air source heat pumps to provide district heating and electricity.
It is anticipated that the co-housing will be completed by spring 2019.
RETIREMENT HOMES, ROYAL TUNBRIDGE WELLS
Client: Pegasus Life
Total area: 0.54ha
Planning authority: Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
Planning ref: 16/07353/ENVSCR
It’s all happening in Royal Tunbridge Wells. High-end specialist retirement living developer Pegasus Life has just secured planning permission to transform the town centre’s Arriva bus station on St John’s Road into 89 one, two and three-bed retirement apartments, with views over the Wealden countryside.
Aside from the residential component, the AHMM-designed scheme will include ancillary communal spaces – rooftop sitting room and bar, a café, gym and guest rooms as well as common garden areas.
Backed by Oaktree capital management, Pegasus Life has, since 2012, been busy building a niche in the premium retirement living business, with over 30 sites being developed in the UK. Every property is sold with a 1,000-year lease and the firm does not charge the kind of exit fees seen as typical in this industry.
Client: Guildford Borough Council
Total area: 700m2 (gross internal floor area)
Planning authority: Guildford Borough Council
Planning ref: 17/P/01389
Architect Haverstock asserts that the design of this new £10 million facility for the local council, replacing a 1965 building, was completely dictated by the process of grieving and its ‘memorial and mechanical practices’. It states that grieving practice requires informal and flexible internal arrangements that incorporate non-denominational spaces. Here it considered everything from the committal of the coffin, the collection of ashes and the lifelong return to visit memorials.
The building plan uses the device of courtyards to provide spaces in which to congregate and reflect, with views out to them from the chapel, which is formed of a warm but deferential engineered timber structure. Brick walls abound here, providing internalised space for contemplation both in the chapel and its courtyards. Off this rises the two volumes of the roof, clad in a standing seam copper effect metal roof.
To avoid crossover between mourning parties, there is a Remembrance Court that allows departing mourners to linger around a pooled courtyard area to gather and reflect before returning to their vehicles. Small touches like this lend humanity to the relatively unceremonial cremation process.