A clever use of traditional detailing in a modern setting won Bellway Wessex this award, sponsored by Powergen
The judges loved this development, a village of more than 350 new homes established on the site of a former hospital. The development has the visual appeal of Dorset vernacular while remaining modern: clever use has been made of varying roof pitches, building heights, fenestration and a combination of local materials. Less visible are the differences in tenure: in fact, they’re invisible, as the affordable dwellings can’t be distinguished from the owner-occupied houses. The judges also liked the relationship between the housing and the open space, and “the thorough application of traditional detailing”. Also worth noting are the village’s excellent community facilities, including a gymnasium, juice bar, cricket ground and tennis courts.
Westend Mews, Kirkbymoorside, entered by Barratt Developments York
This firm’s entry was based on the redevelopment of a former petrol station in a small market town. The design for the 31-unit scheme, which is anchored by a new three-story house, was a masterful demonstration of how to fit new structures into a traditional four-square Yorkshire streetscape. Barratt chose an organic form for the buildings that was reminiscent of the existing frontages while steering clear of pastiche. A verdict on its success was given by the market: all the private houses were sold well ahead of construction.
Petroc, Newton Abbot, Devon, entered by Gerald Wood Homes
This development of four- and five- bedroom luxury houses was built at the top of Knowles Hill, a local landmark with splendid views over the Countryside. As the buildings had to keep a relatively low profile, each had to be individually designed to suit its particular location. Despite the forceful presence of Edwardian villas, Petroc was designed in a bold modern style, with extensive glazed areas, vaulted ceilings and double volumes in the entrance areas. The scheme succeeds admirably in showing how contemporary styling can fit into a rural setting.
Old Mill, Somerton, entered by Midas Homes
On paper, this must have looked like a tough proposition. The site was a contaminated brownfield factory previously used for the production of animal feed. It was also close to a main railway line, was dotted with mature trees, each protected by a tree preservation order. Midas turned it into 46 dwellings that exude an air of rural charm and distinction, partly because of the sensitive use of materials such as "blue lias" stone, painted render and natural slate roof. Unsurprisingly, they have been a big hit with the housebuying public.
Coombe Hall Park, East Grinstead, entered by Try Homes
The judges particularly liked this development of seven houses and eight apartments set in about seven acres of communal grounds. They noted that it was “a commendable assembly of traditional forms and materials”, and they liked the way that it had turned an unsightly and dilapidated school into a building that enhanced an area of outstanding natural beauty. The finished units vary from extreme luxury to affordable one-bedroom apartments.
The Building Communties awards 2005
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Rural housing development of the year: Winner Charlton Down, entered by Bellway Wessex