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Location: Andover, Hampshire

Client: Radian Group

Value: £2m

Status: Completed 2012

Sunfield Close

In conjunction with Abri (formerly Radian), ArchitecturePLB won a competition to design and deliver innovative housing on a former allotment site in Andover, Hampshire. Owned by Test Valley Borough Council, the land was released for development as affordable housing.

Consisting of 17 houses, the development is composed of six different house types offering a good range of dwelling sizes to a diverse mix of residents and family groups. The winning design addressed the sensitivities of building on what was previously communal amenity space surrounded by houses, with an arrangement that maintained views across the site whilst create privacy and minimising overlooking.

The accommodation, predominantly single storey, is arranged up against a perimeter wall that backs onto surrounding gardens to create internal, south facing courtyards. The use of south light is maximised by creating well-lit living spaces that open onto sunny courtyard gardens. At upper level, windows are arranged so that their outlook is between the opposing dwellings.

Every house has been designed to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4, comply with Lifetime Homes, and exceed the minimum requirements for affordable housing. Externally, materials have been selected which are natural, long lasting and unobtrusive. The houses combine green roof and timber clad pods to remain in keeping with the allotments and sheds previously occupying the site. Sedum roofs at first floor help maintain a green outlook from the neighbouring houses, while assisting with water run-off, air quality and ecology. The upper floors are timber clad, with a thermally treated soft-wood that will vastly extend its lifespan, but retain a natural warmth that will mellow and age with its surroundings.

Extended consultation was key in securing planning consent and gaining community approval for this innovative scheme. A bespoke fence commissioned from a local artist screens the front courtyard gardens, to ensure further privacy and security, whilst allowing for light to penetrate and for passive supervision of the public realm. Residents are delighted with their new homes and the scheme has also been recognised with design awards, both regionally and nationally.