Pebble Beach, Barry, South Wales
Getting planning permission was extremely difficult for this Barratt housing development next to the sea at The Knap, near Barry in South Wales. Because it was a sensitive site in a conservation area, the planners threw out three earlier proposals by developers; and each was scrutinised by residents and conservation organisations. The locals had fond memories of a former pub and nightclub on the same spot, so the architect Capita Property Services decided to avoid any compromising nostalgic references to the earlier building.

The architect started with a clean sheet, and the end result is this development of five attractive, Continental-style blocks, each containing four apartments. The architect has made the most of the location with floor-to-ceiling windows to give the building more presence than more common in two-storey housing.

Because it is next to the sea, durability was a key consideration, so high-quality materials have been used. The roofs are clad with a product called rheinzink, an alloy of zinc, copper and titanium. This was chosen because it allowed a lower roof pitch than slate; this ensured the roofline was kept to a minimum to maintain views for residents behind the development. Rheinzink is very easy to work and has many advantages over lead: it is less susceptible to creep, it does not contaminate water run-off and needs fewer joints to cope with thermal expansion.

Vellacine Windows 319

Roof covering
Rheinzink 320

External lights
First Light 321

K-Rend 322