Project: GrodiansProject Type: Large (51+)Year: 2012Client: Hjaltland Housing Association LtdArchitect: Richard Gibson Architects LtdLocation: Lerwick, ShetlandContext: Small TownSector: Housing AssociationCost Per Sqm: £1450
Provide the client’s required mix of 1, 3 and 4 bedroom housing totaling 34 dwellings within the given site. Provide a safe and joyful place for families to live and minimize need for car use within the scheme by promoting foot path use and treating the car as visitor within a pedestrian orientated area. Design a visually vibrant and uplifting place and bring individuality to occupant’s housing to encourage a sense of pride and ownership. To design a varied but complimentary range of house types which gives occupants the best home possible whilst meeting the various and sometimes contradictory space legislation. To comply with Varied Needs and Secure by Design guidelines.
Sited in an established housing area of Lerwick. Access to site was predetermined, with good links to public transport. The design made best use of connectivity to existing foot paths as well as good provision within the scheme for ramped and stepped access. Development was designed to follow the downward slope of the site with an upper and lower street connected by narrow link road, all conforming to Roads design adoption. Houses were orientated to look onto the street for security. Living areas mostly have an outlook to the attractive sea views to the east and south or Burn o Sound to the west. Housing was also staggered along the contours to respond to the west boundary and Burn. As required by PANs large central green space is provided and over looked by housing. A new picnic area also overlooks the burn.
A mix of detached, semi detached and flatted designs were developed to provide varied building forms. Planners required double pitch roofs and Marly roof tiles, however a distinct overall form was achieved by using gable street frontages with a traditional modest proportion. House forms gain solidity form the bold cladding colour with varied cladding orientation providing subtle texture and richness from within the scheme. Minimal road widths were achieved by using wider parking bays. Communal grass frontages contain underground services and allow easier access for maintenance than digging up locblock sets. All but flats have external stores within the house footprint, passively heated by heat exchanger inside.
Subtle provision of space was allowed for future road connections to possible neighbouring development sites without disruption to any houses. Open plan living areas within houses allows for flexibility of use & furniture over occupant’s lifetime. Ground floor WCs in all house types are designed for easy adaptation to include level access shower by way of insulated hole in floor slab. Detached housing has garden space to extend in most cases to suit occupant needs if required. ‘Wet’ underfloor heating with district heating is good sustainable approach, with option to ‘plug in’ alternative heat source in future. High quality materials have been used throughout which have a proven record of durability to the client in Shetland’s harsh climate.
A layout prioritising pedestrians combined with a range of thoughtful, energy efficient house types has created a somewhat picturesque composition of buildings responding to context. The use of colour contributes much to their identity adding a note of brightness to the landscape.
There is something new here, but also familiar which sits comfortably within its rugged Shetland environment.