The Cross, Twelve Unit Housing Scheme

Architects : Detail Architects

Year: 2020 Location : Elland, Yorkshire, UK

The new terrace development sits on the site of a former dilapidated printing and horticultural manufacturing works in Elland, a market town in Calderdale, West Yorkshire. Comprising of 12no. new dwelling houses, the new development has been designed to sit harmoniously within the historic context and is a contemporary interpretation of the traditional terraced housing seen in the local area . Utilising such a site provides a solution to the housing supply without the need for urban sprawl – acting as a catalyst to the ongoing regeneration of the Elland area.

The design is arranged to ensure a successful fit to the constraints of the site and the established street scene. As a result the proposal reflects the rhythm and character of the neighbouring properties but does not attempt to imitate them. The proposal has been designed to have a domestic and intimate character principally composed of 2 storey houses and articulated through a strong sense of materiality and attention to detail, using bricks both as walling and for decoration in the form of honeycomb brickwork. The terraces draw reference from the scale and articulation of a traditional terraced street with courtyard gardens and 2-storey mews-type dwelling houses with a ground floor cart lodge.

The use of local natural materials such as brick and timber which form a distinctive characteristic of the area help the modern design to assimilate into the historic environment.

As such, the new townhouses reflect the existing pattern of buildings in Elland especially in scale and proportion, whilst their modern architectural treatment reflect the local material vernacular.

The material palette of brick, stone and timber has been selected to harmonize with the materials of the surrounding context while also allowing for sharper contemporary detailing. The integration of slim line aluminium glazing systems, perforated brickwork and simple metal balustrading embrace contemporary construction materials, adding to the history of the site and making a positive contribution to the character of the area. The domestic scale of the street and the design of the public realm seeks to reintroduce landscape, knitting the proposal into the existing context through landscaped green spaces and pedestrianised connections through the development. The shared surface, ‘mews style’ street scene prioritises pedestrian use and promotes community life. Car parking provision is provided whilst encouraging the use of public transport and cycles where possible – with each dwelling provided with cycle storage within the courtyard garden space. Each house is entered through a wooden gate, leading to a private courtyard garden. Large glazed floor to ceiling windows maximize natural light, creating voluminous and airy living spaces. Timber stairs lead to further bedrooms or living spaces and a green roof top gardens on the floor above, providing large sized spaces and storage solutions that that exceed the nationally prescribed space standards. The proposals have been designed with flexibility in mind for a wide variety of modern construction techniques to achieve highly thermally efficient homes. Walls and bathrooms have been stacked to reduce structural loadings and subsequently minimise steelwork requirements. Whilst the buildings lend themselves towards a traditional block and brick construction, they have been designed with the intention for the use of a factory fabricated wall panelling system such as ‘SIP’S’ (Structurally Insulated Panels) or “LGSF” (Light Gauge Steel Frame).