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Brickhill Homes – Gt Horwood

The vision was to develop and encourage the effective use of land by reusing an existing brown-field industrial site. The scheme comprises a development of 7No dwellings around a central landscaped courtyard reflecting a farmyard character typifying the rural context of the development.

The development has countryside views and the provision of comprehensive landscaping enhances the rural setting and the use of extensive green spaces in the centre of the development emphasises the farmyard design concept. The layout comprises a central communal area overlooked by the development which becomes a visual amenity space and provides natural surveillance to the estate. The development is arranged in perimeter block format with private setbacks and public frontages along Spring Lane and adheres to the principles contained in AVDC Design Guidance.

The dwellings are two storey domestic scale reflecting the character of the surroundings and are sympathetic to barn and farmstead house styles while the linear rectangular form provides limited span depths reducing roof massing with elongated frontages adding to the farm/rural character of the development.  The simple forms vary in height and pitch and dormers have been provided selectively throughout the development to the less visible rear elevations allowing the internal courtyard to adopt a “farmyard” feel. Building setbacks play an important role in the setting of the development as much as the orientation of buildings. This type of setback is common to farmstead building typologies.

The plan forms have been developed with building projections which are typical of organic farmstead developments providing additional accommodation while respecting the overall built form. The extensions to the main linear building form are designed to be subservient with lower ridge heights to articulate the built form and create diversity in building scales. On public faces each dwelling has a large central glazed double height entrance with smaller windows carefully placed either side. Window openings are minimal so that the wall face dominates.

A limited palette of materials has been used commensurate with the rural nature of the development and adhering to the AVDC Design Guides. Windows are casement style of varying dimensions to reflect the non-urban location.  The use of dark timber weatherboarding against the stone/brick add contrast and emphasis along with articulation and character.

The use of architectural detailing such as exposed eaves rafters, oak or stone lintels provide articulation adding emphasis to the character of each elevation. The use of traditional materials such as timber weatherboarding for the garages and some walling, to contrast against the stone/brick of the main houses are resonant of the farm house style. Using stained timber casement windows and a limited palette of roof materials help tie in the aesthetic approach.

The proposed dwellings incorporate sustainable and energy efficient construction techniques and the end product achieves (or exceeds) required levels of sustainability, controlled through the Building Regulations.

Overall, the development is a sensitive, sympathetic and appropriate design response to the site with each plot being individually designed with generous setbacks and gardens, making use of the countryside views.