1030
Realising high density urban housing

Cities are collections of people learning to live together in close proximity and aiming to thrive in this environment. The buildings and public realm that we create for living must help them to achieve this successfully.

We have been involved with the design and delivery of high-quality residential buildings for over twenty years, and during that time we have acutely developed our understanding of what quality means, in terms of both the level of service that we offer to clients, and the homes that we create for residents. We understand the importance of both private and shared spaces, and the boundaries between the two. Real quality means the construction of robust, attractive, and sustainable buildings that contribute towards the wellbeing of communities. Our housing projects are deeply rooted in the ambition to create high quality environments for living.

An urban collection of buildings is diverse, and by its nature must contain variation to suit different conditions, needs, desires and circumstances. Our residential experience ranges from large developer led new build brownfield projects to the creation of bespoke homes for high-end developers and individual clients, and the lessons that we have learnt and experience that we have gained has many crossovers between the different housing typologies that we work with.

We have completed many high specification house refurbishments, extensions and refits for private clients. We are known for our creative approach to re-imagining the interiors of residential buildings - of all architectural styles. For these projects, where there is often a conservation element to the design - material specification, and domestic function are the most important factors. By working directly with private clients over many years, on very bespoke high value projects - we have gained a real understanding of the potential for living space. Some of these ideas may be filtered and reinterpreted in simplified and pragmatic ways for the layouts and specifications of high density commercial housing, as aspiration exists throughout all economic demographics.

Many large-scale housing projects in urban areas also provide elements of commercial use. This is particularly relevant in a post-Covid environment, where providing high quality workspace close to homes which can be used for start-ups, co-working, or hot-desking, is extremely advantageous. The future of housing design will require broad knowledge of different sectors: commercial, education, workplace, conservation, as well as bespoke design made utilitarian and repeatable.

In delivery, we are highly valued in our ability to detail buildings and lead the production of information for construction, often picking up the projects of others to take projects through to successful completion. The quality of our work here can create added value through space rationalisation, proposed methods of construction, phasing, material specification and detailing. There are opportunities to create value for money and added value at all stages of the design process, and we proactively develop in-house expertise in the wide array of emerging design standards and regulations and apply this knowledge in conjunction with exterior advisers and consultants. Knowledge of requirements at early design stages can often turn a constraint into an opportunity, informing the concept design in a way that pre-empts potential issues and regulatory conflicts.
The dark grey brickwork of the extension is a deliberate contrast to the red of the existing building and aides the reading of the block as an abstract composition distinct from its neighbour. Across the project, the new elements where in a limited dark grey and white palette as a deliberate contrast to the multi-coloured original building. Within this palette, the colour of the bricks was chosen to match the metalwork of the new windows and roof extension while also picking up on the colour of engineered brickwork base. The extra-long bricks add a horizontal emphasis to brick and bond and pattern to distinguish it from the original building. The dark mortar colour was chosen to match the brickwork with recessed joints to increase the horizontal emphasis. Laser cut screens to the base add decorative interest to the curtain walling, car lift doors and entrance area. Again, these were coloured to match the adjacent metalwork and brickwork.

In addition to the appealing aesthetic characteristics of the masonry, the team’s decision to utilise brick as an external skin to the rainscreen façade build-up also simplified the construction and future maintenance of the project, satisfying all the various client bodies aspirations in terms of longevity, budget and time constraints.  The use of double soldier courses and coloured panels to the “wall” blocks along the park edge emphasizes their horizontality.  Their omission on the canal edge volumes emphasizes their verticality and enhances the “finger” like quality of each wing.