‘Deans View’ Audley, Newcastle, Staffs

This scheme of 4No 3 bedroomed ‘affordable’ general family houses and 4No 2 bedroomed bungalows for the over 55’s followed on from the practice winning Beth Johnson Housing Association’s ‘innovative social housing’ design competition originally intended for a site in Telford. After undertaking a significant R&D exercise the proposals were finally built on a disused former playground site identified by the parish council.

The winning design proposed the use of a plethora of ground breaking features well ahead of them becoming either mandatory or fashionable including lightweight steel frame, single leaf masonry (SLIM), removable walls and open plan arrangement, underfloor heating, thermal mass, passive solar heating & ventilation to name but a few. Of these only a handful actually made it into the final built project and the most obvious are the passive energy efficiency measures;

To the rear of each property there is a south facing fully glazed sunspace; not to be confused with a conservatory this space is part of, and is not separated in any way from, the habitable floor space and is glazed with high performance glass which controls the temperature gradient of the habitable space within. This, together with the under floor heating, uses the thermal mass of the concrete floor slab to create a passive energy efficient heat sink. The other notable feature is the use of monopitched roofs which are designed to deflect the prevailing wind thus creating negative pressure below the ridge. This with the aid of manually adjustable louvers in the stairwell and internal doorways, creates a passive stack effect and thus naturally ventilates the dwelling whilst permitting manual control of the air flow. All of this is further enhanced by the use of large internal sliding ‘walls’; instead of standard doorways we installed full height and oversized sliding screens which during the summer months can be slid out of sight into the end of the internal walls to create a Mediterranean type of open plan whilst in the winter the screens can be slid into place and break the volume up into smaller more traditional spaces which can then be heated individually if needs be to counter the cold winter months.

We provided a full traditional architectural service throughout the project (RIBA work stages A to L inclusive). The project was constructed by Jones & Tarr Building Contractors who won the contract via a competitive tender process. The project was completed in 2001 at a contract value of £680,000.