This project is a mixed use site, including social housing, start up business units, parkland, allotments, an orchard located in the Vale of Glamorgan in South Wales.
The site was a large open field with some small existing buildings next to a local school, housing and small business units. The clients brief was provide a variety of social housing units that were to Passivhaus standards, flexible start up business units and green spaces with community hub.
Our approach to the site had to be respectful of the location in the open countryside and we wanted it not to dominate the surrounding area. The design philosophy was to build around a central landscaped courtyard with each house having views over the countryside and each one having a private green space.
In social housing it is important to the tenants to reduce household fuel bills and maintenance costs of the common areas such as staircases and the external public realm. Therefore to reduce the costs for the tenants, Passivhaus principles were used by teaming up with Beattie Passive to create an internal environment that was so efficient the service bills were reduced to less than £100 per year. This was achieved using a highly efficient insulation poured into a timber stick frame and then double wrapping the interior and exterior with membranes. Windows and doors were triple glazed and well sealed to reduce air infiltration and a heat recovery ventilation system was installed to provide warm clean fresh air.
The landscaping was important in the overall design philosophy and integrated throughout the whole process. The planting scheme uses semi mature trees and shrubs chosen for low maintenance and to be evergreen. Maintenance of the soft and hard landscaped area including the small park require regular attention and this can be expensive. The solution was to set up an independent site management system that would maintain it and that would be financed from the independent business units on the site. This enables the site to be well maintained and helps to create a local community spirit between the business units and the housing.
The design of the housing was to use simple traditional forms clad in shiplap black timber boarding, monochromatic colour pallet, projecting bay windows and covered walkway around the courtyard.
Location: South Wales