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PROJECT REPORT: SOCIAL & AFFORDABLE HOUSING


29


The one that was eventually chosen was the one that presented the least constraints, particularly with regards to drainage, but it is actually quite a steeply sloping site. There is around a one in 10 gradient across most of the site, which of course introduced challenges into the design and build processes – including the knock on effect of the gradient on water run off from the nearby fields.


Neep explains the challenges this proposed: “A farmer’s field extends quite a long way further up the hill, so in extreme storm events the road at the bottom of the site was typically in quite deep water – so trying to manage that through the design process was quite challenging.” Another issue thrown up in addition to the close proximity to the nearby agricultural land was the adjoining residents. The site is on the very edge of the development boundary, and as such the nearby residents were an important part of the consultation process: “I can’t say they were completely happy,” says Neep, “but I don’t think people tend to be when there’s a development going on in the field next to their houses.”


ADF SEPTEMBER 2019


“But still, most of them were brought round by the end of it – after what we went through with them in terms of consulting, having explained the project’s ethos and quality of the design.”


Layout


Such a sloping site proposed challenges to the layout of the development, with the terrain having “more effect on the design of the layout than anything else,” says the project architect.


The team reportedly went through an “amazing” number of iterations of possible layouts for the project; as Neep explains – “when you have a steeply sloping or otherwise difficult site, small changes can ultimately result in even the best layout needing a complete redesign.” The layout that the team arrived at was focused around the homes being as close to south facing as possible, in order to maximise the solar gain necessary for Passivhaus living.


“In terms of the orientation,” adds the architect, “with Passivhaus, it’s about creating a good balance between window sizes in order to make sure you get enough


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GREEN SPACE


The project was designed as a cluster of houses around a central public green space that all the homes have an interaction with


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