Our team was tasked to produce a truly unique proposal which worked with an extreme slope over this .5 acre site. We unlocked the value of the land by making the development feasible – as unusual challenge considering the preparatory works involved and required. Our solution presents 3-storey, 4-storey and 5-storey townhouses to the rear, though these appear as normal 1-storey and 2-storey properties from the front elevation. The properties gradually step down with the access road slope.
Many ingenious solutions were sought and successfully found, through axis development, louvre systems for privacy and amenity, materiality in relation to context and structurally in relation to the challenging site.
Materiality was derived from the historic use of the site – a chalk quarry – thus flint and stone are predominant and drive the vision forward, ensuring that the proposal fits into its surroundings, yet is able to provide high quality contemporary living standards.
Our proposal provides 6 new-build dwellings in a location with measurable recorded housing demand, inside the settlement boundary, on a challenging brownfield site.
Excavation of large quantities of made ground required a careful logistics plan and schedule, not foregoing its staged removed so as to not cause temporary stabilisation problems.
The incredible site was formerly a chalk quarry – subsequently to be used by the local authority for storage purposes – and presents an architecture practice with uncompromisingly challenging topography. On two sides, cliff faces from historic chalk excavation are crumbling and require a technically challenging solution consisting of piling, anchor systems and GeoCell green walls. The latter encouraging and enhancing biodiversity.
Our design approach is a direct response to these embankments – it would not be a feasible design should the land be level.
Faced with over 12metres of level differentials, privacy was bound to become an important factor in determining the design and a suitable planning application.
By rotating the axis so it is not parralel to the road, allows the scheme to avoid direct oversight to the neighbouring properties below.
There are then two insurance policies to mitigate any remaining privacy concerns:
- Existing foliage between boundaries shows mature trees. These have been maintained and subsequently block views to properties south-west of the site.
- A clever louvre system further reduces the impact of any oversight to the council-developed properties beneath the site. Whilst these flats are a considerable distance from the plot, this ensures disturbance is kept to a minimum.
The result is a bold, creative and attractive scheme which does not cause offence in the immediate context through overlooking.
Views in and out of the Conservation Area were approached through careful consideration of materiality, scale, finishes and cladding, set-backs, relationships to neighbouring plots, land and topography and the history of the village.
Structural solutions involved GeoCell wall systems, piling systems and anchoring systems.